In the middle of March, the Korean Free Trade Agreement went into effect and the new trade doors are opening. The U.S. Meat Export Federation brought together a group of 10 influential South Korean bloggers recently to get a "total immersion" data dump on U.S. beef. The four-part program involved cooking with American beef, product tasting, a chef's cooking demonstration and a beef sampling event for the Bloggers' visitors. Funding came from the USDA Market Access Program and the Beef Checkoff program.
The blogger group, now it its third year of participation in U.S. Meat Export Federation-Korea beef and pork programs, kicked off the season with a cooking demonstration from a trendy restaurant called the Eatry, in Seoul. The menu included braised short rib, beef carpaccio and dry aged New York strip steak.
Prior to the cooking demonstration, a visiting delegation from Nebraska met with the bloggers, and Greg Ibach, director of Nebraska's Department of Agriculture, gave a presentation on beef production in his state. "This event has been a great opportunity to share our commitment to the Korean market," said Ibach. "We hope the bloggers will help to distribute the story of U.S. beef through their posting."
"Since more and more consumers want to know the story behind the food they eat, it was a great opportunity for the bloggers to meet directly with producers and learn how they produce beef," said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. "Considering that more than 98 percent of the ranches in Nebraska are family-owned, this is a powerful message to give the bloggers and their readers."