New USMEF Chairman Looking Ahead to Challenges & Opportunities

New USMEF Chairman Looking Ahead to Challenges & Opportunities

Russell Nemetz
Russell Nemetz
The new chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation says there will be a lot of challenges in the upcoming year, but also opportunities for red meat exports. Pat Binger of Cargill Protein delivered his incoming remarks to the organization Friday during the USMEF Virtual Strategic Planning Conference. Binger is a native of South Dakota and a veteran of the red meat export industry.

“I was born and raised on a family farm in northeast South Dakota and today the farm is in its fifth generation. Following graduating from Northern State University in South Dakota in 1986, I joined Cargill’s red meat subsidiary called the Excel Corporation, at that time and I have now been with Cargill for the better part of the past 33 years. For 29 of those 33 years I've been directly involved in the international export business, and for the past 11 years leading the International business segment for Cargill North American protein business, which is located in Wichita, Kansas.”

For the upcoming year, the biggest challenge, Binger says, is the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

“It's likely to have a lot of noise in it with the various issues that we're going to have in front of us. First and foremost would be COVID-19 and the many knowns and unknowns that we've got. It was good to hear early this week that there is a possible vaccine. We're going to need things like that in order to really stabilize these markets, both from a demand perspective and from a supply perspective.”

Other challenges include packing plant disruptions, addressing trade barriers and changes in U.S. trade policy.

Binger adds that despite the challenges that lie ahead, there’s plenty of opportunity.

"All in all, I'm very optimistic, in our industry's ability to take on challenges and seize on the opportunities that lie ahead. I remain excited, and highly encouraged about the future of our industry and the overall red meat global export opportunities lie ahead.”

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