Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention

The power of pedigree drives interest in U.S. genetics,” stated exporter Tony Clayton, emphasizing how buyers are attracted to the results of genetic selection American-style. [Photo by Miranda Reiman, Angus Media]

U.S. Genetic Exports:

Where are they going and how are they doing?

Exporter Tony Clayton says the world has become “a smaller place” partly because of exports. As head of Missouri-based Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc., Clayton has exported bovine, ovine, porcine and equine genetic material and live animals from the United States to 65 different countries around the globe. He talked about the growing exports of genetics and feeder cattle during the 2022 Beef Improvement Federation Symposium hosted June 1-4 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Drivers for that growth include the growing populations and expanding economies of countries interested in sourcing their needs from U.S. animal agriculture. As buying power among those countries’ residents increases, so does demand for protein — particularly for meat and milk.

“U.S. genetics are a value-added commodity. This country is a leader in exports of all species. The power of pedigree drives interest in U.S. genetics,” stated Clayton, emphasizing how buyers are attracted to the results of genetic selection American-style.

“Exports affect you whether you participate directly or not,” Clayton told producers in the audience, noting effects on livestock markets and demand for services and supplies associated with the export business.

According to Clayton, exports to what are often described as Third World countries are currently among the fastest growing. Pakistan and Vietnam are leading buyers of live animals from the United States. According to Clayton, Vietnam has purchased some 10,000 head of U.S. feeder cattle in the last four years.

Clayton spends much of his time educating foreign buyers that do not savvy production agriculture. For instance, many buyers do not understand differences among cattle breeds. They are interested in the application of tools like EPDs (expected progeny difference values) and genomics, but don’t understand that goals for genetic improvement cannot be fully achieved in one generation. Potential buyers of feeder cattle don’t understand why an order for several thousand intact males can’t be filled.

Clayton described what is often a long, drawn-out export process, from making the sale to actually delivering the product to its destination. The exporter must guide the buyer through the selection process, quarantine and testing procedures; transportation to a port of embarkation; and all required inspections. Clayton said complications occur all too frequently, caused by issues related to politics, currency, animal disease, regulation changes and weather.

“Even more opportunity is coming for the export of genetics, but also feeder cattle in large numbers,” predicted Clayton, noting how more countries want to establish or expand their own on-the-hoof beef supplies. They want to raise more of their own food and reduce dependence on imports.

“It’s about food security, regardless of the cost,” added Clayton.

To watch Clayton’s full presentation, visit

More than 300 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended BIF’s 54th Annual Research Symposium and Convention in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For more information about this year’s symposium, including award winners, coverage of the symposium and an archive to coverage of past conferences, go to

Editor’s note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of Angus MediaSM. To request reprint permission, please contact Shauna Hermel, Angus Beef Bulletin® editor at 816-383-5270, or Julie Mais, Angus Journal® editor, at 816-383-5271. We welcome educational venues and cattlemen to link to this site as a service to their audiences. is a meeting coverage site provided by Angus Media. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here. Look for additional coverage in the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the AJ Daily, and the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA.