TWO of the nation’s top meat industry organizations are considering a possible merger. The American Meat Institute (AMI) and the North American Meat Association (NAMA) announced Sept. 12 that the groups’ leaders have initiative discussions about merging under a single banner.
The Executive Committees of both associations this week voted in favor of pursuing discussions to create a new organization to represent the meat and poultry industry. According to a joint statement, a committee composed of members from each association will be formed to discuss next steps and to explore how a new organization can best serve its members.
Discussions are anticipated to occur during the next several months, but spokesmen for both groups said that no timeline had been set for the discussion, and plans for examining the possible coupling were still in the very early stages.
AMI Chairman Nick Meriggioli, executive vice president of Kraft Foods Group & president of Oscar Mayer, and NAMA Co-Presidents Mike Hesse, director of sales & marketing of BPI Technology, Inc. and Anthony Gahn, Jr., president of Gahn Meat Company, Inc., said, “We believe that these discussions hold great promise for creating a new organization that could leverage the strengths that both AMI and NAMA offer. It is our intention to pursue discussions in a measured, thoughtful manner that will serve the interests of our associations’ members.”
A NAMA representative indicated that the impending retirement of AMI president and CEO J. Patrick Boyle sparked talks among the organizations’ key leaders.
“Any time there is a change in leadership, it’s an opportunity to see if there’s a way to go forward that is in the best interests of the members,” said Jeremy Russell, NAMA’s director of communications and government relations.
Boyle, AMI’s longest-serving president, announced in July that he would retire at year’s end. He’s served the organization since 1990 following a tenure as administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
AMI is a national trade association that represents companies that process 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey in the US and their suppliers throughout America. NAMA was formed in 2012 by the consolidation of the North American Meat Processors Association and National Meat Association, and represents more than 600 member companies in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and abroad.