Corn growers Mark Scott and Jay Fischer recently joined a team of agricultural leaders and the U.S. Meat Export Federation to promote U.S. corn-fed pork and beef in Japan.
Dubbed the Heartland Team, the group made retail, food service and ranch visits in Japan for a firsthand look at efforts to grow demand for red meat and corn grind globally.
Scott, who serves as Missouri Corn Growers Association president, and Fisher, who is the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council vice chairman, were on a mission to promote trade. As part of their visits, the two Missouri farmers met face-to-face with Japanese consumers to learn about tastes and preferences in the market.
UP CLOSE: Jay Fischer, a corn farmer from Jefferson City, Mo., and vice chairman of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, peruses meat in a Japanese grocery store.
Dishing up corn-fed meat
With American culture and cooking styles gaining traction as popular food concepts in Japan, the team helped lead an “Urban BBQ” event, which highlighted modified traditional techniques to be used on rooftops or balconies and featured the premium flavor of U.S. red meat. Scott had the opportunity to serve some of the barbecue to consumers.
In addition, the team joined U.S. pork ambassador Gochipo — the pork mascot that has educated and promoted U.S. pork and its unique qualities in the country over the years — at several retail locations to see how U.S. pork is promoted in-store. Japan is the largest export market for the U.S. in terms of red meat, providing some of the largest margins for underutilized cuts.
FULL FREEZER: A visit to Tokyo Meat Market allowed members of the Heartland Team to see how beef and pork products are stored, broken down and packaged for Japanese consumers.
Farmers for trade
In a recent article about the trip, Fischer said, "I’m a corn farmer, not a livestock guy, but we’re all trying to do the same thing. We are all trying to market our product in other countries like Japan. On this mission, getting to meet farmers and ranchers from other states was enlightening. Agriculture’s pretty different from one part of the United States to the other. Yet we have one goal, to feed the world, and we have a special bond because of that.”
To read more about the Japan visit, usmef.org.
Missouri Corn is a longtime partner of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, promoting corn grind through value-added exports of red meat. According to a recent World Perspectives study, in 2018, U.S. red meat exports accounted for $61 million to the value of Missouri corn.