U.S. Poultry Partnership Pays Off in Mexico
U.S. Poultry Partnership Pays Off in Mexico
By Amy Roady
In Illinois, corn and soybean organizations are working together to build demand for crops the state’s farmers raise. One of the ways the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff program and Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) complement each other is through promoting poultry exports to Mexico. Both groups support the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).
The relationship between USAPEEC and commodity groups is based on a simple premise – the more U.S. poultry and eggs exported, the more demand for U.S. soybeans and corn.
“The support ISA and Illinois Corn provide to USAPEEC in the same region is unique,” says John Lumpe, ISA CEO. “Our checkoff organizations are a little different but it’s great when we can team up and invest in ways that complement each other and ultimately help Illinois farmers.”
USAPEEC is a non-profit trade association whose members account for more than 95 percent of U.S. poultry and egg exports. USAPEEC’s mission is to increase U.S. poultry and egg exports by protecting, opening and developing markets while serving as the industry’s voice on trade and policy issues. With a record number of 23 commodity groups as USAPEEC members, including ISA and ICMB, funding from various checkoffs accounts for 28 percent of program funding.
“The success of USAPEEC depends on a balance between marketing activities and trade policy work. The initiatives undertaken by USAPEEC through funding from ISA and ICMB work hand in hand and have been imperative in establishing Mexico as the number one export market for U.S. poultry year after year,” says Greg Tyler, USAPEEC senior vice president. “USAPEEC is grateful for the mutually beneficial relationship established with farmers in Illinois. “
The U.S. poultry industry, as the largest livestock consumer of soybeans and corn, accounts for 55 percent of all soybean meal and 33 percent of all corn meal produced in the United States.
- Corn consumed by the U.S. poultry and egg industry in 2019 was 2.198 billion bushels.
- Soybean use reached 1.075 billion bushels – more than the soybean production of Illinois and Indiana combined.
- About 145 million soybean bushels and 296 million corn bushel equivalents were exported through U.S. poultry and eggs worth $4.5 billion in 2019.
- U.S. poultry exports are projected to reach more than 170 million soybean bushel equivalents worth $6 billion by 2022.
ISA is Long-Time Mexico Work Partner
During the last 24 years, USAPEEC has partnered with ISA on more than 78 projects in 16 different countries, as well as on trade policy work that spans the globe. ISA has partnered on promotion activities in Mexico since USAPEEC work began in that country.
“Mexico is one of our strongest trading partners. We think it’s important to invest in areas where Illinois has a strategic advantage and where there is opportunity to grow demand for poultry that eat Illinois soybean meal and corn,” says ISA Marketing Committee Chairwoman Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare, who farms in Pike County. “We value our work with USAPEEC in Mexico and feel that it’s an important long-term investment that provides value to our state’s farmers.”
Mexico was the largest market for U.S. poultry product exports in 2019 with an equivalent of 33.5 million soybean bushels worth $1 billion.
USAPEEC believes the Mexican market continues to show significant opportunities, particularly in meat processing. That’s because only about four percent of locally produced chicken meat in the country and two percent of U.S. poultry are sold as value-added products. USAPEEC activities with Mexican poultry and meat processing companies has opened the door to high-quality, affordable U.S. raw chicken as a main ingredient to produce high-value meat products.
Soy, Corn Groups Fund Start-to-Finish Success
USAPEEC’s Mexico strategy includes funding from not only Illinois corn and soybean farmers, but also the United Soybean Board, Kansas Soybean Commission and Ohio Soybean Council.
For example, USAPEEC Mexico’s multi-year, multi-phase strategy begins and ends at the two largest food shows in Latin America targeting the meat processing and foodservice sectors. Both are funded by the United Soybean Board. First, USAPEEC Mexico hosts about 15 members in a double-decker pavilion at Expo Carnes y Lacteos, the largest trade show for meat processors. The pavilion serves as a spot for one-on-one meetings with potential clients and as a platform for USAPEEC Mexico to meet new meat processors that may be interested in U.S. poultry.
Funding from the Ohio Soybean Council creates a platform for USAPEEC Mexico to identify and engage with meat processors. Through this funding, USAPEEC Mexico has been able to strengthen strategic relationships with associations such as the Mexican Association of Poultry Science Specialists (ANECA) and the Mexican Association of Federal Inspected Plants (ANETIF). Sponsorship of both of their annual congresses and some courses enables USAPEEC to increase its visibility and influence among poultry and meat processors.
“Once USAPEEC Mexico identifies players in the meat processing industry that would benefit from learning about U.S. poultry use in further processed products, ISA funding comes into play. With ISA support and strategic alliances with ANETIF, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and Tec de Monterrey private university, USAPEEC coordinates a program composed of six, three-day courses of 144 hours of training. The program encourages Mexican companies to use more U.S. chicken and turkey as raw ingredients for processing new ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products and helps update them on processing, packing and storage technologies so they can meet international standards,” says USAPEEC Mexico Director Alma Lilia de Leon.
With ISA assistance, USAPEEC has been able to reach nearly 799 processors from 209 local processing companies during the last six years, which covers 90 percent of the total production of processed meats and poultry in Mexico or 97 percent of targeted Mexican meat processors. Nearly 50 new value-added poultry products have launched in the market as a result.
Once targeted processors complete the program, USAPEEC Mexico uses funds from the Kansas Soybean Commission to provide specialized technical assistance to targeted medium-size meat processors, foodservice, retail and bakery companies. USAPEEC also provides assistance on marketing endeavors and research and development to successfully launch new products that use U.S. poultry and egg ingredients. To date, USAPEEC has provided individual technical assistance to 23 meat processors resulting in commercial production of 34 new products with U.S. poultry ingredients valued at nearly 17,000 metric tons per year. Results of this project have already exceeded the expected outcome, which was 30 to 32 new launches by 2021.
Finally, USAPEEC Mexico participates in Expo ANTAD & Alimentaria Trade Show, funded by the United Soybean Board. The trade show is a crucial platform for launching new products developed through customized technical assistance to the foodservice sector. The show also serves as a forum where exhibitors from the USAPEEC pavilion have contacted large department chains like Walmart and la Comer. After the 2019 show, exhibitors were surveyed and estimated total sales of $575,000 were recorded in the six-month period after the trade show.
“Through these projects, the interactions and support provided to launch, market and export local poultry products have allowed USAPEEC Mexico to convey the message that the U.S. is a reliable poultry ingredient supplier and Mexico can be a processing product center with great results, creating a win-win and helping the poultry industry grow as a whole,” says Tyler.
Illinois Corn Takes on Trade Policy
USAPEEC’s greatest barrier to increasing exports of U.S. poultry and eggs continues to be government trade policies and is an important element of USAPEEC’s mission. ICMB has invested in trade policy since becoming a USAPEEC member 24 years ago.
“Although Illinois has more hogs and cattle than chickens or turkeys, ICMB has always understood the importance of funding USAPEEC. We are proud to know we have helped build U.S. poultry market opportunities with our neighbor, Mexico, and even prouder to share Illinois corn checkoff dollars are working to build markets all over the world – even markets Illinois farmers might not think about,” says Roger Sy, ICMB chairman and Douglas County farmer.
The U.S. has encountered many instances where foreign governments, including World Trade Organization members, employ protectionist measures like non-tariff barriers or unjustifiable and scientifically invalid sanitary regulations to block imports of U.S. poultry and egg products.
“USAPEEC must be technically prepared from scientific and policy perspectives to advocate sound policies with our government and with foreign governments and to engage in constant education about fair trade in poultry and egg products,” says Tyler. “Success in maintaining a healthy U.S. export industry depends on constant communication between the poultry industry and government officials and on effective advocacy for fair and transparent trade policies.”