US pork farmers worried about market prospect

Added On August 15, 2019

Preisler made the remarks on the sidelines of Minnesota Farmfest, a large-scale agricultural trade show that has recently been held in the Midwest U.S. state, where trade issue was a hot topic.
He said the protracted trade tensions may dampen the outlook for their access to China, the world's biggest pork market, and consequently cripple the entire industry.
DAVID PREISLER, CEO of Minnesota Pork Producers Association:
"What we're seeing now is just unrealized potential. And there's a tremendous demand in China, and we can certainly fill some of that demand and do it at a reasonable price for consumers in China. Unfortunately, it's unrealized potential at this point. Would we love to have full access to that market? Yes."
U.S. hog farmers have taken a hard blow from the U.S.-China trade tensions which started more than a year ago.
According to the U.S. administration, American hog farmers are estimated to be losing out on 1 billion U.S. dollars annually.
Preisler said that his team has currently projected "a slight profit" for the coming year.
"So at this point, I would say that they would be less profitable. Um, so what's being unrealized are really greater profits at this point, um, compared to if there was full access."
According to data from the U.S. Meat Export Federation, more than 25 percent of the country's total pork production is exported, with China being a major buyer.
"I mean, you end up being concerned that some of those things can happen. You know, we obviously are in the worldwide economy. And so you know, if there are disruptions in one place, someone else may end up filling that demand. And so yes, it's a concern. We'll just have to see where it brings us into the future."
The industry leader noted that stable trading with China has generated positive impact on local economy, especially in Minnesota, where some 3,000 farms raise about 16.5 million pigs per year, making it the second largest pork producing state in the United States.
He added that the longer trade tensions with China linger, the more American farmers will see their window of opportunity close as competitors claim parts of the Chinese market share.
"I think the other important thing is that you know if China goes to other customers to find pork, well, they may just stay with those customers even after a dispute is settled. And so that's a concern from our standpoint."
So far, many individuals, organizations as well as business groups in the United States have voiced their concern about the tariffs' ripple effects on both relative industries and the broader U.S. economy while hoping for a final settlement.