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Thursday, October 24, 2002

New Orleans, LA—The American Meat Institute (AMI) today elected the six officers that will guide the organization through the next year. The announcement came during AMI's Annual Business Meeting, which was held during AMI’s Annual Convention featuring the Innovation Showcase, October 24-26, in New Orleans, LA.

Elected to the chairmanship was Richard (Rick) G. Searer, group vice president Kraft Foods North America and president of Oscar Mayer Foods, in Madison, WI. Searer joined Kraft Foods, Inc., in 1981 as assistant product manager for Maxwell House Coffee and has since held a variety of positions with Oscar Mayer Foods and Kraft. In 1993, Searer was named executive vice president and general manager for the consumer products division of Oscar Mayer Foods. In 1996, Searer was named president of Oscar Mayer Foods Division and executive vice president of Kraft Foods. He assumed his current position as Group Vice President of Kraft Foods North America and president of the Oscar Mayer, Pizza and Food Service Group in 2000.

Serving as vice chairman will be Stewart K. Owens, chairman, president and CEO of Bob Evans Farms Inc., in Columbus, OH. After graduating from Southern Methodist University (SMU), Owens began his career at Owens Country Sausage as an office manager at the company founded by his grandparents. He was promoted in 1984 to president of Owens Country Sausage. After Bob Evans Farms, Inc., acquired Owens Country Sausage in 1987, Owens joined the Board of Directors. In 1994, he was named executive vice president and COO of Bob Evans Farms Inc., and in 1995 he was named president.

William A. Buckner, corporate vice president of Cargill, Inc., and president of Excel Corporation, in Wichita, KS, will serve as treasurer. A veteran of the Canadian meat processing industry who served as 1997 president of the Canadian Meat Council, Buckner joined Cargill in 1987. Buckner oversaw the construction of a beef processing plant in Alberta, Canada, and served as general manager until 1994. Buckner moved to Wichita in 1994 when he became president of Cargill’s worldwide beef operations. He was named president of Excel Corporation in 1998 and elected corporate vice president of Cargill in 2000.

Robert “Bo” Manly, president and COO for farm and processing plant operations for Premium Standard Farms, in Kansas City, MO, will serve as secretary. Manly is a veteran of both the beef and pork processing industry. He joined Premium Standard Farms in 1996 as the president and CEO. Manly served as the executive vice president of Smithfield Foods, Inc., where he oversaw the vertical integration strategies of the company and the planning, design and start up of the nation’s largest pork slaughter facility. From 1995 to 1996, Manly was president of Smithfield Packing Company, Smithfield Foods’ largest subsidiary.

Phil Clemens, chairman and CEO of Hatfield Quality Meats in Hatfield, PA, and AMI’s 2001 chairman, becomes immediate past chairman. J. Patrick Boyle was reelected by the AMI membership to serve a fourteenth year as the Institute's president and CEO.

"The upcoming year will be an important one for AMI as issues like food safety, federal regulations and the upcoming 2002 midterm elections could impact the industry,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. Boyle added, "The collective expertise of the new officers will be critical assessing the priorities and providing direction for both AMI and the industry."

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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