WASHINGTON and OAKLAND, Calif. – July 1 will mark the day that the North American Meat Association (NAMA) begins and the National Meat Association and the North American Meat Processors Association officially ends.

Starting in July, NAMA will include nearly 700 major meat companies and suppliers with locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan. The association will have a total of 16 staff members and offices in Washington, DC, Oakland, Calif., and Ottawa, Ontario. Mike Satzow, North Country Smokehouse, and Marty Evanson, Jobbers Meat Packing, will serve as NAMA co-presidents.

“The number one benefit of the consolidation is the exponential power we have to support the meat industry, with the synergies by bringing together two great staffs and programs,” said Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of NAMA. “This gives us the ability to give more assistance to more members on in-plant issues. It gives us a growth opportunity to spring ahead in representing the industry in Canada and Mexico, as well as in the US.”

Consolidation made sense given the similarities between the associations and the complementary geography of its membership. The majority of NMA members are in the western US, and NAMP members are mostly in the Midwest, Northeast and Canada. NAMA’s membership will have members in 44 states, three Canadian provinces, Mexico, Australia and Japan. NAMA members are located in 80 percent of US congressional districts.

“The consolidation means we have a stronger voice together,” said Jeff Saval of Deli Brands of America and co-chair of the NAMA board. “The combined strength of the two already strong associations comes at a critical time for the industry. We needed to create stronger industry representation on regulatory, scientific and food safety issues.

“Our industry gets attacked on a variety of issues — obesity, ‘pink slime’, whatever,” Saval added. “Now we have one consistent voice instead of two separate voices. We as an association need to be proactive voice to consumers, not a reactive voice. We need to show consumers what we are doing to create safe, legal foods.”

As an organization, NAMA will hold more than 10 major industry events:

• E. coli conference and mini-conference
• Salmonella conference
• Campylobacter workshops
• Outlook Conference
• Management Conference
• Annual Conference and MEATXPO
• Washington Leadership Conference
• Center of the Plate Training
• Workplace Issue Workshops

NAMA will have 10 issue-specific and program committees:

• Associate Advisory
• Beef
• Education
• Food Safety & Regulatory Inspection
• Future Leaders Group
• Government Relations
• Marketing Emerging Trends
• Intellectual Property
• Processed Meats
• Workplace issues

NAMA will also include two affiliate associations:

• Chicago Midwest Meat Association (CMMA)
• Eastern Meat Packers Association (EMPA)

Mike Satzow said the consolidation represents a unique opportunity to shape an organization that is responsive to the needs of meat processors and suppliers.

“It is exciting that NAMA is a North American association with members in Canada and Mexico,” Satzow said. “All of us have the same problems and we’re looking for the same solutions – which is the best common denominator there is.”