“There’s a very strong demand for meat in the world, especially in places like China, South America. Russia has exploded now today to be the second largest beef importer in the world.”
But sometimes politics stands in the way of free trade. Gregg Doud is the chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“Korea and Japan are two of our three largest markets historically. We don’t have any access to Korea. We don’t have any access to China today for our beef and we have very limited access to Japan. ”
“We’re actually doing extremely well in many other countries in the world. In fact, two thirds of our beef exports today go to Mexico and Canada. We are selling rounds, hindquarters to Russia for the first time in history, actually beating in price Brazilian grass fed beef.”
Earlier this year Mexico and Canada reached an agreement to reopen Mexico’s import market of live breeding cattle, while Mexico remained closed to U.S. cattle producers. That didn’t sit well with Texas Ag Commissioner Todd Staples.
“As a result of that agreement, I had not allowed Canadian cattle to pass through the Texas Department of Agriculture export pens, and said that we needed to be included in that and Mexico responded. U.S.D.A. worked hard on our behalf and now Texas and U.S. cattle producers have access to an 80 plus million dollar a year market.”
So there are political solutions to political problems.
“We want to make certain that all international trade is based on sound science and not political science, and if we’re going to have free trade, that free trade needs to be fair trade.”
“We think if we could get the Korean market back that would bring us just about all the way back to where we were five years ago, and then we’ve got to work on that Japanese market, to get that fully back, and from there it’s gravy.”