Tag Archives: Pork

DES MOINES, IOWA –  Steve Rommereim, a pork producer from Alcester, South Dakota, was elected president of the National Pork Board at the organization’s June board meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. The National Pork Board’s 15 farmer-directors represent America’s pig farmers.

“This is an exciting time to raise pigs, and I am honored to be elected to serve America’s pig farmers,” Rommereim said. “A decade ago, the We CareSMinitiative was introduced during World Pork Expo to allow producers to demonstrate the care they take every day on their farms. Today, We Care continues to show pig farmers’ focus on doing what’s best for people, pigs and the planet. I look forward to continuing the great work already underway through many Pork Checkoff efforts.”

Rommereim is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine, which markets 10,000 pigs annually. He also grows corn and soybeans, as well as has a cow/calf operation.

Serving with Rommereim on Pork Checkoff’s executive officer team are David Newman, a pork producer from Jonesboro, Arkansas, as vice president and Mike Skahill, from Williamsburg, Virginia, as treasurer. Terry O’Neel, a pork producer from Friend, Nebraska, will serve as immediate past president. The four executive officers will serve one-year terms in their positions effective at the close of the June board meeting.

“In the year ahead, the Pork Checkoff will focus on driving consumer demand through sustainability,” Rommereim said.  “We will do this through programs that build the Secure Pork Supply plan and work to move fresh pork domestically and to market U.S. pork beyond our borders.”

Additional Biographical Information

Steve Rommereim is the owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine in South Dakota. Highland Swine markets 10,000 pigs annually. He also grows corn and soybeans, and has a cow/calf operation. In March, Rommereim was elected to serve a second term on the National Pork Board. He served as the 2017-2018 vice president and interim treasurer. During his tenure on the National Pork Board, he has served on numerous committees. The Operation Main Street speaker has served as a South Dakota delegate to the Pork Industry Forum since 2003. Rommereim was on the National Pork Board’s Plan of Work Task Force in 2009. He is past president of the South Dakota Pork Producers Association, serving on its board from 2001 to 2011. He also is past president of Agriculture United for South Dakota and serves on the South Dakota Animal Industry Board.

David Newman of Jonesboro, Arkansas, owns and operates a farrow-to-finish Berkshire farm in Myrtle, Missouri, that markets pork directly to consumers throughout the U.S. Newman is also an associate professor of Animal Sciences at Arkansas State University where he teaches and conducts research, with an emphasis in meat science.

Newman serves on the Swine Health committee and previously chaired the Domestic Marketing committee and served on the Producer Services committee. He also participated in the Pork Leadership Academy.

Michael Skahill of Williamsburg, Virginia, is a vice president for Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods is a vertically integrated operation from production to retail marketing. The company markets 16 million pigs annually.

Skahill serves on the National Pork Board Trade Committee, the U.S. Meat Export Federation Pork and Allied Industries Committee and chairs the trade committee for the North American Meat Institute. Skahill also served on the National Pork Board 2015-2020 Strategic Plan committee.

Terry O’Neel, was elected to his second board term in 2016, most recently serving as president of the board. He served as the 2016-2017 vice president and as the 2015-2016 treasurer. O’Neel also served on the Domestic Marketing, Producer Services and Pork Quality, Safety and Human Nutrition committees. He has hosted farm tours for the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, the International Water for Food Project and various service, student and youth groups. He served as president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Board in 2007.

Mexico is retaliating against trade tariffs placed by the United States with tariff on U.S. pork. Mexico Tuesday implemented punitive tariffs starting at ten percent and escalating to 20 percent next month on unprocessed pork.

The list, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace, includes a 20 percent tariff on U.S. hams and pieces of ham, as well as fresh and frozen pork legs, shoulders, and their pieces without bones. The Mexican ministry will also open a 350,000-metric-ton tariff-free quota for imports of pork legs and shoulders from other countries. Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. pork, representing nearly 25 percent of all U.S. pork exports.

National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl says the tariff “eliminates our ability to compete effectively in Mexico.” In a statement, U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom said the action by Mexico will “negatively impact everyone in the U.S. supply chain,” along with harming Mexican consumers and “potentially open up a tremendously strong market to a whole new range of competitors.”

Thursday the Mexican Ministry of Economy announced that in retaliation for new tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports, Mexico intends to impose tariffs on some U.S. pork cuts and pork products. Full details – such as the tariff rate and the exact products to which the tariffs could apply – are not entirely clear at this time. USMEF will provide more information as these details become available. In 2017, Mexico was the largest volume market for U.S. pork exports at more than 800,000 metric tons, valued at $1.51 billion.

Statement by U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom

It will be very unfortunate if U.S. pork exports to Mexico, which deliver tremendous benefits to both the U.S. supply chain and to Mexican consumers, importers, processors, retailers and restaurants, no longer enjoy duty-free access to this critical market. It is especially frustrating to see U.S. pork caught up in a dispute that has nothing whatsoever to do with pork trade. If these tariffs are implemented, they will negatively impact millions of consumers and thousands of people in the meat and livestock industries on both sides of the border. USMEF is hopeful that this impasse will be resolved as soon as possible, with duty-free access for U.S. pork maintained. This is especially important now that key competitors such as the European Union are making market access gains in Mexico and view it as a promising market for their pork products.

Canada’s Department of Finance also announced that the Canadian government intends to impose countermeasures in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs.

Regardless whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or a card-carrying Mugwump, I think we can all agree that President Donald Trump is a man not afraid to change his mind. Of course, that’s not to say that everyone would characterize this unique flexibility in the same way.

What strikes some as being open-minded, hits others as being empty-headed. What speaks to some as strategic deal making, warns others of random cluelessness. What some admire as bold examples of leadership, others fear as reckless and counterproductive displays of power.

Furthermore, many members of the citizen jury flip their verdicts from morning tweet to morning tweet. Our wonderful country can often be a tough bar to manage with the head bouncer facing intractable problems on a daily basis. Reassessments can be good or bad, absolutely necessary or dangerous second-guessing.

No less a thinker than Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Whatever else fans and critics might think of the commander-in-chief’s gray matter, it is clearly not haunted by ghosts of uniformity and steadfastness.

But while I’m glad President Trump is not demonically possessed by an irrational need to strictly “stay the course” for its own sake, I am increasingly troubled by the reckless way he likes to shoot from the hip in matters of global trade.

The seeds of mistrust now being sown among many of our major trading partners makes me wonder if the White House truly understands the evolutionary nature of the international marketplace, a networking process that slowly improves over time as “non-zero” relationships (i.e., net import and export sums that benefit both sides of a trade) proliferate and compound.

But if this criticism is too harsh on the Trump administration, I feel more confident in saying that the president and his entire motley crew (given the extremely short truce in the trade war with China declared just last week, it seems clear that not every team member is rowing in the same direction) could benefit from a season or two of demanding fieldwork and farm management.

As far as I’m concerned, the great and abiding ethos of agricultural marketing has always been summarized by the pledge “my word is my bond.” Many may think this sounds quaint and unrealistic. But I still think it’s the fundamental nail that guarantees 95% or more of the country’s farm business.

That’s not to say that no one in the farming and ranching community ever bothers with lawyers and contracts. Of course, successful producers follow prudent business practices. And that’s not to say that all those who work the soil or sort cattle automatically turn into unimpeachable Eagle Scouts. Bad apples fall from rural and urban orchards alike.

Nevertheless, I would have no qualms testifying before Congress (or perhaps more to the point, chatting over drinks at Mar-a-Lago) about agriculture’s extraordinarily high commitment to honor and trust in matters of commerce. Maybe I’m hopelessly naive. But I’ve seen too many unhedged farmers dutifully deliver contracted corn dollars under the spot market and too many unhedged feedlot managers accept delivery on fall calves tens of dollars above the spot market to think otherwise.

Although waves of consolidation and concentration have certainly changed some of the dynamics of agricultural business over the decades, an amazing network of trust and cooperation still exists in the country. This network’s taproot is comprised of realities such as isolation, low population, piecemeal infrastructure, and scattered markets.

The magic of this necessary trust at first fostered the rising levels of trade required to feed and energize the continental United States. This same quality of trust was then increasingly married to hundreds of other trusting business partners all around the world to create global trade worth trillions and trillions of dollars.

Unfortunately, this long-tested alchemy of trust and trade, a proven elixir responsible for the creation of untold wealth through U.S. agriculture, as well as the nation as a whole, is being threatened by a president who believes that trade wars are good and easily won.

Can’t you just hear our trading partners say something like “Anyone so casually bellicose is not to be trusted.” And that’s exactly the point. Trust and trade go together like love and marriage. Once you become less than trustworthy, your sex appeal as a trading partner quickly goes south.

During less than 18 months in office, President Trump has reneged (or threatened to renege) on U.S. international pledges too numerous to count. Some of these decisions may have been well-reasoned. But the way the president and his team blow hot and cold (sometimes on the same day), is it any wonder that U.S. creditability seems to be approaching an all-time low.

Maybe if Trump had been raised in the wilds of western Nebraska or Kansas instead of cushy New York, he would have learned one of the woodshed’s most valuable lessons: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”

Washington, D.C.– Members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Virachai Plasai, ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the United States, calling for the removal of restrictions on imports of U.S. farm products, including U.S. pork. The bipartisan letter – signed by 44 members and sponsored by Representatives David Young, R-IA, and Ron Kind, D-WI – calls for the suspension of U.S. trade benefits enjoyed by Thailand if it does not respond with reciprocal access.

“It’s time for Thailand to end its unwarranted ban on U.S. pork,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “We thank Representatives Young and Kind for leading this call to action on behalf of American pork producers and other farmers.”

Last week, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) agreed with a request from the National Pork Producers Council to review Thailand’s eligibility for the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program because of that country’s failure to provide access to its market for U.S. products, including pork. NPPC is urging the Trump administration to withdraw or limit the benefits Thailand receives under the preferential trade program, which gives duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States. The program allows for removal of a country’s benefits if it fails to provide the United States “equitable and reasonable access” to its market.

According to the letter to Ambassador Plasai, “If significant progress is not made, we anticipate that the United States may soon consider whether it is appropriate to suspend some of Thailand’s GSP benefits in order to ensure better compliance with the letter and spirit of the eligibility criteria.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

DES MOINES, IOWA – For the first time in more than 20 years, the world’s premier gathering of red meat industry leaders is coming to the United States, and the Pork Checkoff is a major sponsor of the event. Hosted by the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the 22nd World Meat Congress will be held in Dallas May 30-June 1, 2018.

“We are excited to be a major sponsor of the 2018 World Meat Congress,” said Bill Luckey, chair of the Checkoff’s international marketing committee and a pig farmer from Columbus, Nebraska. “This conference provides a historic opportunity to gather critical insights and showcase the superiority of U.S. pork production to key international customers.”

During the World Meat Congress, U.S. pork will be featured in the following ways:

  • Prominently featured in several meals, including the opening reception and a pork-themed luncheon;
  • A booth where Pork Checkoff staff will feature the quality of U.S. pork and share the We Care® and sustainability story of U.S. pig farmers; and
  • Keynote speakers chosen by Checkoff and USMEF leadership to discuss emerging issues.

“Exports will continue to play an important role in producer profitability during 2018, and offer the ability of our industry to sustainably grow in the future. As a significant World Meat Congress sponsor, we will build critical relationships that help us articulate key strategies to define new export markets and grow pork demand in existing ones,” said Luckey.

According to USMEF, the World Meat Congress is a biennial event, held in a major meat-producing country. It brings together more than 700 of the world’s meat industry thought leaders.