The World Community

The winds of change blew and a windfall befell the beef industry. This flight of fortune started in Japan, picking up speed in Taiwan, to make its way to the nation of the stars and stripes forever.
What can be better than nations working together for the greater good? At issue is the news of movement on trade barriers that put the skids on U.S. meat and poultry marketing maneuvers, which had been rolling along on hope and promise.
Although “challenging” pretty much defines food manufacturing and marketing businesses, some obstacles are more daunting than others. When the gateway to international customers slams shut, it is no small thing for the American meat industry, consistently trying to stretch shrinking profit margins. Consider this review of headlines of recent times:
•Nebraska: USDA reports [July ‘04] beef production down 20 percent from previous year.
•Kansas City, MO: Today [Oct. 20, ‘04] National Beef Packing Company LLC announces it will reduce production hours spanning four days this week and next week due to unfavorable market conditions.
•Tama, IA: Iowa Quality Beef, a joint venture of Iowa Quality Beef Supply Cooperative and Wisconsin’s American Foods Group, temporarily closed it facility citing market and financial conditions brought on by the BSE situation.
This is a small sampling of the industry’s reaction to business pressures tied to BSE and trade barriers. There is always something with which to contend, but believers know everything changes—in only a matter of time.
 In America, although change is constant, it moves with winged speed — especially in an election year. In its statement of the news about the resumption of U.S. beef trade with Taiwan, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) credited the nation’s chief administrator. “America’s cattlemen are very pleased with Taiwan’s announcement to resume imports of U.S. beef and beef products. This comes on the heels of the announcement by Japan to resume beef trade with the U.S., and we’re encouraged by this progress being made in the Asian markets,” affirms Jan Lyons, president, NCBA. “We applaud President Bush and the administration’s trade team for making the re-opening of these vital markets a top priority. We still have a lot of work to do in regaining the marketshare we had prior to December 23, 2003, but the progress we are seeing this week is a tremendous step toward that goal.”
Of course the American president and all the king’s men could not make this happen, if it was not in the best interest of the world community.