The U.S. Meat Export Federation has announced the recipients of its Mansfield Award and Distinguished Service Award. Both will be presented at the 2015 USMEF Strategic Planning Conference, Nov. 4-6 in Tucson, Arizona.

The Mansfield Award recipient is Rosemary Mucklow, director emeritus and consultant for the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). Mucklow’s career in the meat industry spans more than 50 years, including 25 years (1982-2007) as Executive Director of the National Meat Association. Mucklow also provided valuable regulatory and business guidance to the industry as part of the North American Meat Association, which later merged with the American Meat Institute to form NAMI.

“I am deeply honored, and enormously surprised – I certainly didn’t see this coming,” Mucklow said. “The Mansfield Award is a great honor, and one that makes me reflect on all the wonderful people I have worked with in the U.S. meat industry who have been such a great help to me over the years.”

The Mansfield Award was established in recognition of former U.S. senator and diplomat Michael J. Mansfield, who served a record 11 years as U.S. Ambassador to Japan under both the Carter and Reagan Administrations, where he displayed an unyielding commitment to U.S.-Japan free trade. He was also the nation’s longest-serving U.S. Senate Majority Leader, holding the position for 16 years while representing the state of Montana.

Rich Degner is the recipient of USMEF’s Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to individuals who have shown outstanding leadership toward achievement of USMEF’s export goals. Until his retirement on Sept. 30, Degner was chief executive officer of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) – a position he had held since 1998. Prior to becoming CEO, Degner served IPPA in the areas of producer education, market development, communications and public policy.

Degner was instrumental in launching IPPA’s foreign market development program, working in conjunction with USMEF and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. He is a longtime champion of exports of U.S. pork, educating producers about the premiums delivered through international marketing and how exports enhance producer profitability. Degner often traveled to key international markets, meeting with pork buyers and establishing business relationships beneficial to U.S. exporters, processors and producers. He also helped host numerous international trade teams visiting the United States.

“I’m extremely humbled and thankful to USMEF for recognizing me with this award,” Degner said. “Looking back, I find it amazing that a farm boy from northwest Iowa, who grew up on a small, diversified operation, would actually have the opportunity to travel to international markets and have such a remarkable experience while working on behalf of U.S. producers.”

“The U.S. meat industry is fortunate to have many great leaders within its ranks, and Rosemary and Rich are two of our finest,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We look forward to honoring them in Tucson for their many years of outstanding, dedicated service.”

Past recipients of the Mansfield Award and USMEF Distinguished Service Award are listed online.

Source: USMEF