Bewilderment, sadness and outrage: mood of US farmers in trade war

World Pork Expo happening as trade war escalates

There’s a fraught mood hanging over the World Pork Expo, at least if the leaders of the U.S. National Pork Producers Council are any sign.

They just finished a press conference with a room full of reporters and I’d sum up the feelings about the U.S.-launched trade war, and the resulting Mexican and Chinese retaliation against pork, as bewilderment, sadness and outrage. Pork was the first victim of the war, immediately hit by America’s infuriated trading partners, who believe causing upset in farm country will put pressure on President Donald Trump.

The hog farmer leaders seem bewildered by what has happened to them. They were, as one just described, the “poster child” for trade expansion, going from a net-importing sector in 1997 to a major exporter now. One trade deal after another led to bigger and bigger U.S. pork exports, which now make up 27 percent of U.S. production. TPP seemed to offer even greater prospects, as well as China opening up.

Now TPP (for the US)  is dead, the U.S. is in a trade war with China, and Mexico – a NAFTA partner – is hitting back at U.S. pork imports.

Here are some quotes from NPPC leaders this morning:

“It’s very painful for us . . . Producers are hurting.” Nick Giordano, NPPC trade expert

“We are bleeding . . . We need to get this fixed now . . . We’re starting to take on water fast . . . We need this trade dispute to end now.” Jim Heimerl, NPPC President.

 

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  • Monkeeworks

    It is hard to believe everyone but the the leaders of the ‘U.S. National Pork Producers Council’ know China is very close to becoming the largest pork exporting country in the world. That means they will never be importing pork from anywhere again. Blame someone else when you don’t know what to do. The council should be looking elsewhere to export U.S. pork or trying to get a bigger market at home for pork and forget China. Trump knows pork exports to China are close to an end so what loss to move it up a few months and bargain it off the table. Stop blaming the wrong people and do something constructive.

    It is really fascinating what the Chinese are doing with their hog production for self sufficiency and export. 11,000 (that is not a typo) breeding sows in a single 4 story barn (if you can call them that) 4 of these barns on a single property.
    Bio-security, best the world has to offer. Ready to accept loss. If a single sow becomes infected with some infectious disease the whole floor is culled, quarantined, and sterilized with steam. Air intakes and exhaust air is set not to enter another floor.
    Breeding regimes. The largest lab in Canada (Edmonton, I think) has every ounce of sperm sold to China. Best breeding sows world wide are being imported.
    Workers do not go from floor to floor, every floor has it’s own work team. Every floors workers have their separate ‘hotel’. Their work shift starts 4 days before they enter the barn, in other words, the workers are quarantined for 4 days, they work 6 weeks in and 3 weeks off. Every sow or feeder hog has a tattoo that is read and tracked by computer cameras. It measures the animal temperature, their movements and how much they are eating. Every farm has their own lab and vets. Daily exercise routines. Manure treatment plants where waste could be flushed safely into any river. But it is not. Waste from the treatment plant is hauled away as fertilizer.
    Feed is brought in but the truck never enters the property. Underground conveyors bring the feed into the lab where every load is tested for quality and possible pathogens.
    There are literally hundreds of these farms, some still waiting to start production due to lack of sows.
    Where is their feed coming from? The new golden railway from Russia. Built by the Chinese. Black Sea area. Into Northern China and put into the Chinese rail system somewhere at that point.

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