The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) ended its strategic planning conference by electing new officers. Cevin Jones, a cattle feeder from Eden, Idaho, will succeed Conley Nelson, an Iowa pork producer, as USMEF chair, according to a federation release.
"My first involvement with USMEF was when I was marketing chair with the Idaho Cattle Association," recalled Jones, who along with his brother operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot. "As part of my duties I would go to national conventions where USMEF staff and leadership shared information about their work in international markets. This was a tremendous eye-opener. I valued the importance of export markets then, but value it even more today."
In November 2003, Jones became president of the Idaho Cattle Association, shortly before one of the most disruptive events in U.S. beef industry history.
"About one month later, I got the phone call — BSE," Jones said. "Then I truly realized how important our exports markets are, when they closed overnight. But in time I got to see USMEF in action, helping to get those markets reopened."
He later chaired the Idaho Beef Council and the Federation of State Beef Councils and also served on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, furthering his interest in expanding the global demand for U.S. beef.
As he takes the helm at USMEF, Jones encourages members to remain strong in their commitment to international marketing, even in the face of trade barriers and ongoing volatility, the release said.
"I expect the trade environment to continue to be very challenging, but we have experienced, dedicated people on the ground in international markets across the world who give USMEF the ability to adapt and change," he said.
For more background on Jones, listen to his introduction in this USMEF audio clip.
The rest of the USMEF officer team for 2019-2020 reflects the organization’s diverse membership. The chair-elect is Pat Binger of Wichita, Kan., a vice president at Cargill Protein Group. Binger has been in the red meat industry for more than 30 years, including 27 years in international sales and 16 years directing Cargill's overseas network of offices.
Mark Swanson is USMEF's new vice chair. He is the CEO of Birko Corporation, headquartered in Henderson, Colo., and has more than 20 years of experience in the protein industry, including time with Iowa Beef Processors, ConAgra Foods and Swift and Company.
Dan Meyer is the newest USMEF officer and was elected secretary-treasurer. He is a corn, soybean and livestock producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa, and a director on the board of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. He has also served as chair of the Iowa Corn Animal Agriculture and Environment Committee and the Lyon County (Iowa) Pork Producers.