Montana Stockgrowers appreciates the opportunity to be a part of Governor Bullock’s trade mission to Taiwan and South Korea this week. Our Executive Vice President, Errol Rice, is a member of the delegation on the trip, working to build relationships with business leaders that will lead to greater economic opportunities for Montana ranchers and our beef products.
Asian markets are a rapidly growing segment for U.S. beef products with opportunity for tremendous growth. While domestic demand for our beef remains strong, future market growth depends on our ability to be globally competitive. These Asian markets continue to see growth in economic activity and a stronger middle class with a disposable income to purchase higher quality food products, such as American beef.
Asian consumers are demanding high-quality U.S. beef products. With the trade mission overseas, we are looking at how our product is positioned in Asian markets next to our competitors such as Australia and New Zealand. We want to learn more and get a sense of what they like about our product and gather any information we can take back to Montana to learn how to better position our beef products and meet their needs.
South Korea is our fifth largest market valued at $847 Million with room to grow. Taiwan is an important trading partner for us, consuming almost $300 million in U.S. beef in 2014. Global exports of Montana and U.S. beef accounted for $350 of per head value in 2014. That value is incredibly important for cuts of beef that are not consumed domestically, but do remain popular in international cultures.
Stronger export markets for the U.S. beef industry translate to better demand for Montana cattle ranchers. Montana contributes almost 1 million head of cattle to the U.S. feeder supply each year and is a large player in genetics for quality beef cattle bred across the country. Export markets are important to ensuring we have demand drivers for our products and ensuring profitability in our business.
Our strategy is to focus on growing market share and driving investment into Montana’s cow/calf, feeding and processing infrastructure, so that we can better promote the unique attributes of Montana and U.S. beef to consumers in Taiwan and South Korea. Montana Stockgrowers looks to support open markets in parts of Asia, such as Taiwan and Korea, ensuring a level playing field and science-based standards for trade of U.S. beef.
We also look for investment opportunities for beef processing capacity in the state of Montana, which has been a priority of the Governor. This has been a project endorsed by Stockgrowers to add value to our ranchers’ products coming from Montana and is very important to trade opportunities in export markets.
Again, we thank Governor Bullock for his efforts broaden market access for Montana’s beef products in this very important region of the world.