Beef Jerky

Iowa Beef Producers Promote Beef On Trade Mission to Mexico

Casey Anderson | December 21, 2022

Iowa beef producers, Mike Holden of Scranton and Ross Havens of Wiota visit Mexican supermarket with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. The trio is holding beef that originated in Iowa from Upper Iowa Beef. 

Do you recall the last time you cooked beef tripe at home? Likely never. 'One man's discard is another man's treasure,' a telling analogy to describe the US-Mexico beef trade dynamic. Continue reading to learn why Iowa farmers and ranchers continue to prioritize relationship-building trade missions to Mexico.

Building Relationships

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and a delegation of business leaders embarked on a trade mission to Mexico in the Spring of 2022. The mission, coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), was focused on increasing exports of manufactured products and agricultural goods. The trip was composed of representatives from multiple commodity groups, including Mike Holden, Scranton, and Ross Havens, Wiota, on behalf of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. Delegates participated in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. 

"Leading trade missions opens doors for Iowa agriculture, deepens important relationships and allows us to explore new market opportunities for Iowa," said Secretary Naig. "Mexico continues to be a critically important export destination for Iowa agriculture as our farmers remain focused on delivering quality, consistent and affordable products to customers around the world."

Creating opportunities for Iowa beef producers to greet international customers served a twofold purpose 1) represent the interest of beef producers among a multi-commodity delegation and 2) share how decisions based around animal husbandry, genetic advancement, implementation of technology, advancements in animal health, etc. which were paramount to building trust with Mexican business owners.

Economic Relevance

According to the US Meat Export Federation, beef export value per head year-to-date equates to more than $420 per head of fed cattle. This is supported in part by exporting beef tripe, lips and hearts as the continue to be popular categories selected by Mexican beef purveyors. Persistent beef promotion by USMEF and relationship building activities by IEDA have helped drive the needle forward on carcass utilization and value. This has bolstered the value of beef variety meats by nearly double since 2012. 2021 data indicates exported variety meats equated to approximately 25 lbs. and more than $40 in value per head of fed slaughter. 

Namesake Matters

Business owners in Mexico highly value relationship based business which is why IBIC, IEDA and other Iowa commodity groups have prioritized frequent trade missions to Mexico. Tour stops and meeting were facilitated by in-country USMEF representatives, another producer supported beef trade organization. IEDA Marketing Manager for International Trade, Brad Frisvold mentioned, "Making Iowa the choice for people and business continues to be a top priority of IEDA's mission. We know building trusting relationships with foreign trade partners is paramount to expanding market opportunities abroad."

IBIC representatives Mike Holden and Ross Havens were excited to spot beef from an Iowa based meat packer, Upper Iowa Beef, at a market the group visited. Holden shared, "It was compelling to see an Iowa company brand. We often ponder where our beef lands but that day we got to peak at the other end of the supply chain. I felt a real sense of pride in our state and the beef we raise when I saw the Upper Iowa brand in the cooler."

Your Dollar Does

Your dollar does work for you. With the assistance of partner organizations like IEDA and USMEF, your beef checkoff dollars are used to leverage combined resources for a greater impact. Casey Anderson, Director of Industry Relations at IBIC shared, "If we retained the investment in organizations like IEDA and USMEF, we would be hard pressed to replicate their results from our office. The economies of scale and access to in-country expertise we realize from these partnerships is invaluable." To learn more about IEDA visit or visit USMEF at for more information.