DENVER – Edward (Eddie) Troutman, a third-generation meat industry veteran with more than 36 years experience, is the US Meat Export Federation’s Distinguished Service Award winner for 2011. Troutman was indoctrinated to the industry at age 12, working for $1 per hour.

“My grandfather and father had a packing house in Elizabethville, Pa.,” he said. “I grew up in the beef business.”

Graduating from Catawba College with a degree in business, Troutman began his career in the beef industry in 1975 with Swift & Company’s domestic sales and distribution unit in Atlantic City, NJ. Less than three years later, he joined Taylor Packing Co. Inc., in Wyalusing, Pa., where Troutman spent the next 25 years totally immersed in the business, working everywhere from the kill floor to the boning room to managing sales coolers and ultimately, into sales.

“My first international sales trip came in 1990 for a USMEF trip led by Phil Seng [then recently named CEO of USMEF],” said Troutman. “Ken Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor Packing, was on that trip as well, and he felt we needed to grow our international business and get actively involved in USMEF. I became the international sales arm of Taylor.”

After Cargill acquired Taylor Packing in 2002, Troutman embarked on the next phase of his career. In December of 2009, he was named Cargill’s vice president of beef international and byproduct sales.

Since a trip to Japan in 1981, Troutman has been actively involved on the international side of the business and with USMEF, He has served both on USMEF’s Executive Committee (1999-2001) and as chairman of the Exporter Committee.

Despite the many artificial trade barriers that confront US exports, USMEF is a huge success story, Troutman said. “USMEF has worked side-by-side with other organizations, leading the way to bring resolution to the issues that affect our ability to trade,” he added. “This success cannot be achieved without a highly dedicated and professional team, continuously working to promote and grow US meat exports.”

The nomination of Troutman for the Distinguished Service Award lauded his extensive work in Washington, DC “lobbying Congress, foreign embassies, the USTR, USDA and many trade associations advancing the trade agenda…He takes the stance that open trade policies will create opportunity for all market participants,” the nominator wrote.

“As chairman of the Exporter Committee, I said: ‘We produce the safest, most wholesome meat products in the world,’ and I still believe that,” Troutman said. For that reason, he continues to be baffled by what he considers the industry’s biggest unforeseen challenge: the continuing market access challenges linked to BSE. But he is grateful for his long experience in the industry.

“I’m very fortunate to have worked for a family-owned company [Taylor] that believed in doing things the right way,” he said. “And I now work for a family-owned company [Cargill] that also believes in doing things the right way.”