October 26, 2020
USMEF to present awards to beef council executive and former trade official
The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) will honor longtime state beef council executive Richard Wortham and former assistant US trade representative Sharon Bomer Lauritsen at its upcoming Strategic Planning Conference, which will be held virtually on November 10-13.
Wortham will receive the USMEF Distinguished Service Award, which recognises an individual for leadership and lifetime contributions toward the achievement of USMEF's mission to enhance demand for US red meat exports.
Lauritsen is the recipient of the Michael J. Mansfield Award, which USMEF established in recognition of the US Senate majority leader whose decades of government service advanced US trade relations throughout the world.
Wortham has held leadership positions at the Texas Beef Council (TBC) for 30 years, including 24 years as executive vice president. When he retires in December, helping expand the global footprint for US beef will be one of the hallmarks of a career dedicated to advancement of America's cattle and beef industries.
"I'm proud to accept the USMEF Distinguished Service Award, but I do so on behalf of the producers who have served on the Texas Beef Council and our hardworking staff," he said. "The award is really a reflection of the outstanding commitment they've shown to international marketing for more than three decades, and the great working relationship between TBC and USMEF."
Lauritsen retired from the US government this year with 29 years of service, most recently as the assistant US trade representative for agricultural affairs and commodity policy.
She has led US agricultural trade negotiations with key trading partners such as Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union, and at the World Trade Organization. Following her retirement from USTR, Lauritsen founded AgTrade Strategies LLC, a consulting service on US agricultural trade policies.
"It really is a great honor to receive this award from USMEF, which has been such an important partner for my team at USTR over the years," Lauritsen said. "Whether working through BSE-related issues around the world in the early 2000s, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations or, most recently, the revised beef agreement with the European Union, USMEF members and staff always gave us the kind of guidance we needed as trade negotiators. So I see the Mansfield Award as recognition of a great team effort, which makes it even more special."
Lauritsen worked extensively for many years on improving access for US beef in the European Union, including recent negotiation of a US-specific share of the EU's duty-free High-Quality Beef Quota. This change helps ensure year-round, duty-free access for US chilled beef in this high-value market.
"Having worked closely with both Richard and Sharon for many years, I'm very pleased that the USMEF leadership chose to honor them with these awards," said USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom.
"For US red meat to thrive in the international marketplace, we must have effective front-line negotiators who create a fair global playing field and forward-thinking industry leaders to help us capitalise on these opportunities. Their tremendous efforts have provided great returns for the US meat industry and will continue to pay dividends for decades to come."