Cord Lee – U.S. Meat Export Federation – Denver

Intern Update

August 2023 Update

As I am wrapping up my internship experience with the United States Meat Export Federation, I want to recap the Global Processing Seminar that happened just last week.

The Global Processing Seminar was held in conjunction with the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association. We welcomed groups from Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and a group from Central America. Throughout the summer, I have been helping organize and plan the seminar for the attendees to attend. From reserving the hotel rooms to making dinner reservations, I was tasked with a wide array of tasks to do throughout the internship experience.

On July 31st, we welcomed 26 attendees to UNL’s Animal Science Complex, where attendees learned about NCGA’s sustainability initiatives, the basic fundamentals of meat quality, new emerging flavors and techniques to add flavor into a meat product. After listening and learning, the groups were able to work hands on with meat science graduate students to develop a flavor profile and a new innovative product, using the new emerging flavors for their respective regions. This was by far the most interesting portion of the day, because I was able to see these groups come together and develop an innovative meat product. After wrapping up for the day, we were able to enjoy a nice dinner to interact with the group of attendees.

The next day, we returned back to campus to learn more about meat packaging, thawing of raw meat and thermal processing. These topics were all crucial for our attendees to have knowledge of because they import meat products into their country. The groups then had presentations on their new innovative products. Industry representatives from Nebraska Pork, Nebraska Beef and Nebraska Corn attended the industry luncheon where we were able to connect and network with industry representatives and test out the innovative products. Dr. Gary Sullivan wrapped up the session by answering any remaining questions from the group.

On the final day of the Global Processing Seminar, we headed to Fareway Meat Market, to showcase what a smaller, boutique meat market looks like in the United States. Fareway showcased many different products in the case that many of our attendees had not seen prior. Our next stop was the new HyVee in Gretna, Nebraska. This HyVee is the largest HyVee and showcased a wide array of meat products, as well. The third stop of the day was at Mead Cattle Feeders in Mead, Nebraska. This feedlot holds a capacity of 30,000 head of cattle. This stop gave us an opportunity for our attendees to see what livestock production looks like. There is truly no better place to showcase beef cattle production than in Nebraska! To wrap up the Global Processing Seminar, we went on a tour of Wholestone Farms and their new cutting floor facility. Wholestone Farms is in the middle of transitioning from the old cutting floor to the new cutting floor, so we were able to see the whole cutting floor without it in operation. They have several projects planned for the future, as well, so it’s exciting for the pork industry and family farms in Nebraska and Iowa.

As I wrap up my internship experience and take the time to reflect, I can’t be more grateful for this opportunity. I have truly loved being able to work alongside the USMEF staff and learn about the initiatives USMEF is working on and how the future of U.S. red meat is going to be impacted by global events. Once again, thank you Nebraska Corn Board for the opportunity for this experience and thank you for reading about my internship throughout the summer!

July 2023 Update

As we approach the culmination of my main internship project, I am eager to fully experience the 2023 Global Processing Seminar. July has been full of putting together various pieces of the puzzle to bring this event together, which is exciting to be able to see all of the work from over the last couple of weeks finally come to fruition. I anticipate being able to interact with the seminar attendees and to continue to learn more about the red meat industry. With that being said, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on a recent experience that proved to be a valuable experience during my internship.

A team from Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation, or commonly known as ALIC, was in Denver, Colorado for a few days experiencing tours of industry operations and attending meetings with staff members. ALIC is comparable to the United States Department of Agriculture. ALIC is an administrative agency that carries out agriculture and livestock policies that are created by Japan’s Government. For reference, some of ALIC’s initiatives are to provide farm management stabilization measures by providing producers with assistance to consistently produce high quality and safe products, to prevent sudden fluctuations in supply/demand/prices of those high quality and safe products, to provide producers with a consistent supply of products, and to collect and spread information that aids in the stable management of producers.

Fortunately for me, I was able to embark on a day of touring Running Creek Ranch, a ranch located in Elizabeth, Colorado. Running Creek Ranch was established in 1971 and still operates the way they did at the time the ranch was established. They utilize Belgian draft horse’s to feed their 1,200 head cattle herd, rather than utilizing vehicles. The operation raises Limousin cattle and sells bulls via private treaty.

This tour was very fun to experience, as we were able to showcase how this modern ranch still effectively operates using some antiquated methods. Utilizing Belgian draft horses as true horse power isn’t something you get to see every day, but for the ranch, it is life as normal. Furthermore, we were able to have discussions with the owners and operators of the ranch and were able to learn about the management of the operation. Whether it was from a genetics, marketing, or a calving management standpoint, we were able to learn about the yearly operations of the ranch and what makes Running Creek Ranch a unique and efficient operation. A few of my personal highlights from the trip were being able to drive a team of horses and meet and have conversations with the ALIC team. It was enjoyable to show them something that they are unfamiliar with.

Overall, this is one experience that I will take with me for a very long time and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity. Not only was a learning experience for the ALIC team, but for me as well. Thanks again for checking in to my blog post for the month of July! Next time, you will get to hear all about the Global Processing Seminar, which happens July 31 – August 2 on UNL’s East Campus!

June 2023 Update

Hello Nebraska Corn, my name is Cord Lee, and I am the Promotion and International Relations Intern with the United States Meat Export Federation based in Denver, Colorado. I am originally from Elsie, Nebraska, where I grew up on my family’s cow/calf, feedlot, and row-crop operation. I am currently a senior at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, double-majoring in Agricultural Economics and Animal Science, with a minor in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program. I am involved in the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and other clubs and organizations on campus. I have loved getting a wide variety of experiences in my internship already and am excited to share them with you!

To start things off, my internship experience looks a little bit different than most expect. With the USMEF staff traveling and working remotely, I can also work in a hybrid setting, meaning that I still go into the office regularly but have the capability to work remotely as well. This work experience is something that I am not accustomed to, but I have come to enjoy the experience of being able still to see all the friendly staff in the office and experience living somewhere new, but I am still able to hang out with my family and friends in Nebraska. As I mentioned, this work setting is new to me, but it has been a great experience.

The main thing I want to highlight in this blog post is my experience at the 2023 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. As a beef producer, my familiarity with the pork industry was very superficial prior to attending the World Pork Expo, however, I left Des Moines with a greater appreciation and understanding of the pork industry. I was introduced to Don Mason, USMEF Representative in Colombia at the World Pork Expo. Don and I were able to have excellent conversations on issues within the pork industry, the pork industry in Colombia and other international markets, as well as meeting with other industry professionals. I appreciate being able to hear about Don’s life and career experiences and being able to learn from an industry professional. Two of my main takeaways from the World Pork Expo are the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry and how Proposition 12 is expected to or has impacted pork producers.

With artificial intelligence on the rise, it is so exciting to see it make its way into livestock production, hoping to make the industry more efficient. AI has been impactful in the nutrition and genetic aspects of the industry, which are crucial aspects of industry producers. Implementing AI in your operation can improve data collection and analysis to evaluate performance and behavior better. Management of industry operations will benefit directly from the use of AI in the future.

The Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 12 has created an anticipation of pressure and uncertainty in the pork industry. Prop 12 will certainly have an impact on the pork industry, as California is a huge demand base for pork. It will be interesting to see how the industry, as a whole, adjusts moving forward.

Nebraska Corn, thanks for checking in to hear about my experience so far. I look forward to keeping you all up-to-date on my internship experience with the United States Meat Export Federation!