The National Pork Board recognizes the important role that international marketing of U.S. pork plays in producer profitability and the ability of the pork industry to grow in the future. Pork exports accounted for 25.7 percent of total 2018 U.S. pork and pork variety meat production. Export value per head averaged $51.37, down 3.9 percent from 2017.

Expanding U.S. pork exports is a collaborative effort between the Pork Checkoff and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). The two organizations work together to research and develop new markets and expand the existing customer base for U.S. pork.

One of the key activities USMEF uses to share information, discuss international strategies and priorities, and obtain industry feedback is through the annual Unified Export Strategy (UES) meeting, held each year in Denver.


Q: What is the UES meeting and who attends?

A: The Unified Export Strategy (UES) meeting is held in April each year and is a key step in USMEF’s strategic planning process.  The strategies and priorities arising from this process become the “Unified Export Strategy” proposal that USMEF submits for USDA funding and is the backbone for all industry funds as well.  Members of the Checkoff’s International Marketing staff and committee join the USMEF and other industry stakeholders to provide input on global marketing priorities for the following year.


Q: What is the objective of the UES meeting?

A: Through this important meeting, stakeholder input from various sectors is gathered  to assist USMEF in determining marketing priorities for pork. The feedback collected at these annual workshops helps to guide USMEF’s overall market and funding proposal for a multitude of sources, including USDA and pork checkoff.


Q: What factors are considered when looking at funding priorities?

A: There are a variety of unique factors that impact market access and the ability to conduct market development activities in each international market. These topics are both short and long-term in nature and includes market conditions, competitive pressure, market size and relative U.S. market share, market penetration, U.S. industry and foreign partner commitment, risk vs. reliability, cost of doing business, and other pork industry input on both a domestic and international level. These factors all play a role in determining international marketing opportunities and priorities.


Q: What happens after the UES meeting?

A: USMEF incorporates the feedback from the meeting into their UES application, which then is submitted to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), outlining its proposed use of USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program funds. This detailed and well-constructed plan defines proposed market priorities and use of funds within a market. Foreign Agricultural Service funding is generally announced in the range of October – December for use in the following year.


Q: What does the timeline for funding each year look like?

A: The planning process for a given year is lengthy and comprehensive. This process begins well in advance of the year that funding is to be deployed and administered. The UES meeting occurs each spring followed by a National Pork Board International Marketing committee meeting and a USMEF Board of Directors meeting. Following these meetings, the UES is submitted to USDA for MAP and FMD funding consideration. During the summer, while the final UES application is reviewed by USDA, USMEF begins the process again for the next year by creating strategic market profiles based upon current data and in-market findings. In the last quarter of the year, NPB again meets to discuss Pork Checkoff investment. The USMEF has its second board of directors meeting of the year, and FAS announces funding for both programs. The process continues through the next year starting with USMEF’s global staff conference in January and the National Pork Industry Forum in early March.

Clay Eastwood

Clay Eastwood

Manager of International Marketing