The U.S. Meat Export Federation last week hosted a congressional delegation from Mexico for a firsthand look at U.S. meat production. The three visiting legislators are members of the lower house of the Mexican Congress, where all three serve on the Livestock Committee – including the committee's president, Salvador Barajas, and Dario Badillo of Hidalgo and Raudel López of Aguascalientes.
A top official from Mexico's Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, Coordinator of Livestock Development Francisco Gurria, was also included in the delegation.
"USMEF was pleased to have the opportunity to host such an influential group," said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic. "At both a legislative and regulatory level, these are people directly involved in shaping livestock policy in Mexico."
Their first stop was the Aristocrat Angus ranching operation near Platteville, Colo., where they learned about the production of purebred breeding stock as well as the management of a commercial cattle herd.
At Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the group met with CSU President Tony Frank and Provost Rick Miranda. They also toured the Center for Meat Safety and Quality and received an overview of the research conducted at CSU and how it supports the agricultural economy of Colorado and the United States.
At USMEF headquarters in Denver, the delegation received a briefing on the role and mission of USMEF and some examples of its market development activities in Mexico and other key markets. They also met with officials from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
Other key industry activities included a tour of the Cargill beef processing plant in Fort Morgan, Colo., and the JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding operation near Kersey, Colo.
"The delegation definitely received a thorough, farm-to-plate examination of U.S. meat production," said Russell. "They were very complimentary of the information provided, and found it to be an extremely beneficial experience."
"As our No. 1 volume market for both U.S. beef and pork, maintaining a positive trading relationship with Mexico is particularly important to the U.S. meat industry," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "This is why it is so important for USMEF to be actively engaged with leaders in both the executive and legislative branches of the Mexican government. Hosting this delegation is exactly the type of outreach that will benefit agricultural interests on both sides of the border for many years to come."