DENVER — In an effort to educate and inform its Asian trading partners, the U.S. Meat Export Federation recently brought members of the Association of Southeast Asia to Denver to learn more about the meat processing industry in the U.S.

U.S. processors, traders and exporters said the conference was a valuable opportunity to make business connections in a heavily-populated region holding great growth potential for U.S. exports. Buyers, importers and distributors from the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam met with these suppliers to discuss their product needs and share information about their markets.

Before the event began, A.S.E.A.N. region participants toured Cargill’s beef processing plant in Dodge City, Kan., the National Beef processing plant in Liberal, Kan., the Seaboard Foods pork plant in Guymon, Okla., and the JBS beef plant in Greeley, Colo.

"I feel excited because it’s my first time visiting a beef plant slaughter house and pork slaughter house and to meet new suppliers in the U.S.," said Imelda Ventus, purchasing manager for DPO Philippines Inc. "We would like to explore more business from the U.S. We are currently buying a little from a U.S. trader, but we would like to go direct. Products we are buying are [mostly] pork [followed by] beef and chicken. I’m going to talk with some U.S. suppliers to see if they can do more business with us.

"Customers actually prefer buying from a U.S. plant mainly because the product is so consistent compared to every other country," she added.

Craig Rempp, vice-president of sales and marketing for LPB, Inc., Earlham, Iowa, said he found the event to be valuable. LPB is a family-owned custom pork processor looking to expand its international presence and to deal more directly with its clientele in the A.S.E.A.N. region.

"[The conference was] absolutely helpful and serves us two-fold," Mr. Rempp said. "[It allowed us to] meet the U.S. traders we have dealt with face-to-face and to meet the buyers they have dealt with in the past. Our intent [was] trying to make sure they understand who LPB is. We have shipped into Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, but a lot of times they don’t recognize the faces to the names. We chose to go out and get in front of the buyers so they see LPB is a really viable company."