AMI Provides Processors With an Unmatched Opportunity

Q&A with Herb Meischen, vice president, strategic marketing, Cargill Meat Solutions
Question: From Cargill’s perspective, what is the primary benefit that comes from being a member of AMI, and why is AMI so strong in that area?
A. There are many benefits to being a member of AMI. As a trade association, AMI unifies our industry and represents our industry’s interests. From the small beef processor to the large multi-species processors, we all rely on AMI as our voice in the media and on [Capitol] Hill in Washington, D.C. They are able to speak with greater authority and put a face to our industry.
Additionally, Cargill has found that AMI provides the industry with great resources, like its food-safety training seminars. Those resources are applied daily to our businesses, and they raise each of our levels of expertise and commitment to our industry. We aren’t selling commodity products anymore. Beef, pork, turkey and other proteins are highly competitive products, each with its own claims and attributes. But our first priority should be that each of our products is safe to consume, and AMI helps educate all of its members on how to meet that need.
Q. Is there an example of how Cargill takes the information and other benefits of AMI membership and translates those things to everyday operations?
A. Absolutely. Cargill appreciates the multiple learning opportunities hosted by AMI each year to better our industry as a whole. With the six workshops and seminars they host each year, plus the countless education programs offered at their conferences, AMI provides processors with an unmatched opportunity. Seminars with information about new techniques to reduce the microbial load on a carcass, or on how to improve worker safety issues at our plants, help all of us better our processes.
AMI has provided a wealth of information that Cargill has applied to our plants and improved our processes. Information gathered from AMI seminars is used throughout our plants every day. This is where the industry as a whole benefits. And because of this type of commitment from AMI, our level of standard has increased across the board, and consumers are getting better products.
Q. What are some of the key ways in which Cargill is involved in AMI, and has been involved in recent years? Do you see Cargill expanding its involvement or keeping it steady down the road?
A. Cargill has been involved with AMI since 1949, and we look forward to continued collaboration with them. We have always played an integral role with the association, with many of my colleagues at Cargill serving on the board of directors, several even being chairman of the board, and many others serving in various other capacities on different committees. The American Meat Institute is a trade association that earns their keep. Cargill appreciates the work they’ve done and their vision for our industry.