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Published September 23, 2013, 10:41 AM

Meat organizations discuss merger

The Washington, D.C.-based American Meat Institute and the Oakland, Calif.-based North American Meat Association have initiated discussions about a possible merger.

By: Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek

WASHINGTON — The Washington, D.C.-based American Meat Institute and the Oakland, Calif.-based North American Meat Association have initiated discussions about a possible merger.

Within the industry, AMI is viewed as the representative of the big packers, those that together process 95 percent of the red meat and 70 percent of the turkey in the U.S. and their suppliers, while NAMA, which has its origins in small western packer groups, is the representative of the smaller packers.

NAMA also conducts training sessions in which larger companies can participate. With differences in geography and leadership, conflicts between the two organizations over policy, personality and style are legendary.

Changes of leadership may have created the circumstances for the proposed merger.

AMI President J. Patrick Boyle announced in July that he would step down at the end of 2013 after 24 years with the organization.

Rosemary Mucklow was executive director of the National Meat Association until 2007 and is now director emeritus of NAMA, focusing on regulatory and business issues and membership. She has been associated with NAMA and its predecessor organizations for more than 50 years.

Barry Carpenter, a former director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture livestock and feed program in Washington, is the CEO of NAMA. Carpenter, who spent 37 years with USDA, joined the National Meat Association in 2007.

“The executive committees of both associations ... voted in favor of pursuing discussions to create a new organization to represent the meat and poultry industry,” AMI and NAMA said in a joint news release.

A committee of members from each association will be formed to discuss the next steps and how a new organization could best serve its members, with discussions anticipated to occur during the next several months, the two groups said.

The announcement was made by AMI Chairman Nick Meriggioli, executive vice president of Kraft Foods Group and president of Oscar Mayer, and NAMA co-presidents Mike Hesse, director of sales and marketing of BPI Technology Inc., and Anthony Gahn, Jr. president of Gahn Meat Company Inc.

“We believe that these discussions hold great promise for creating a new organization that could leverage the strengths that both AMI and NAMA offer,” the statement said. “It is our intention to pursue discussions in a measured, thoughtful manner that will serve the interests of our associations’ members.”

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