Representing U.S. cattle industry abroad
Jaclyn Wilson, Midwest Messenger
AgUpdate - Jun 16, 2022
Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska
A little over a year ago, I had planned a trip to Colombia. It came down to the last minute and finally the decision was made to not go—which unbeknownst at the time was the right decision as two weeks later everything closed down. So, when I was asked to head to Colombia on a trade mission over a month ago with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), I readily jumped on the opportunity.
A week ago, 17 of us made the trip south. Along with Lt. Gov. Foley, DED Director Goins, NDA Director Wellman and Professor Emeritus Dr. Chris Calkins, there was representation from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Pork Board, Nebraska Beef Council, Nebraska Cattlemen, Midwest Dairy Association and NDA.
Export markets for Nebraska have become increasingly important, and the state is currently the number one importer of beef from the U.S. to Columbia. With so much room for export growth across all sectors, the state had a booth at Alimentec, the premier international food, beverage and hospitality conference in LatAm.
While the delegation took time helping to staff the Nebraska booth to visit with distributors from all around the world and talk about the greatness of Nebraska agriculture, there were also multiple meetings.
The meetings took place with groups from United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF), Embassy staff, business groups and companies. We were also able to get out in Bogota and surrounding areas to visit warehouses and farms / ranches...
... While there were many great experiences, such as meeting with the interim ambassador to talking to fellow Red Angus breeders, the greatest memory I’ll have, of course, surrounds beef.
USMEF had a booth a couple aisles over from the Nebraska booth. Sponsored in part by the Beef Checkoff, the booth was always busy every time I wandered by. I had just finished a short shift at the Nebraska booth and had wandered back over where a popular LatAm chef representing USMEF and a chef representing Certified Angus Beef were getting ready to do a cooking demonstration with U.S. beef. My Spanish is very much lacking, so I grabbed our interpreter and asked if he could translate what the chefs were saying for me.