The National Pork Producers Council just accomplished removing pork import restrictions based on H1N1 concerns from the valuable Chinese market. This effort has been underway since the restrictions were imposed earlier this year.
The NPPC noted, China’s decision to remove restrictions on the meat “is good news for U.S. pork producers,” Don Butler, president of the National Pork Producers Council. U.S. hog farmers have lost about $5.3 billion over the past two years as corn prices jumped to a record in 2008 and the recession and the H1N1 virus sapped demand this year, according to the group.
“China is, by far, the largest potential money-making opportunity for the U.S. pork industry,” Butler said. “A Chinese market reasonably open to U.S. pork would single-handedly put a huge dent in the U.S.-China trade imbalance.”
Also, U.S. hog farmers have asked the government to increase pork purchases to help keep them in business as sales fell with the spread of the H1N1 virus. Rod Brenneman, the chief executive officer of Seaboard Foods LLC, the second-biggest U.S. producer, told a congressional hearing in Oct. 22 that the USDA needed to act immediately. I spoke with Don Butler shortly after the testimony to the House Subcommittee on Agriculture about the effort.