Business

Russian Import Ban Unlikely To Affect Texas Beef Producers

Stinging from Ukraine sanctions, Russia strikes back with a food import ban.

raw pork chops
Raw Pork Chops
photo credit: flickr/Stuart Webster

 

Russia is banning the import of all beef, pork, fruit, vegetable and dairy products from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for a year. It’s a reaction to sanctions imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine crisis. But the ban may not have a big effect on Texas beef producers, according to Pete Bonds with the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

“Even before the announcement of the ban, we were not exporting any beef to Russia. They disallowed any, any U.S. beef here, oh, several years ago,” said Bonds. “The government has been working trying to get it back in, but we have not been able to get that done.”

Russia has not been importing beef and turkey from the U.S. for some years because of a dispute over a drug used as a feed additive to promote leanness in animals raised for their meat. It’s not even allowed in the European Union.

“That is the excuse they’re using,” said Bonds. “Russia has also bought a lot of really good Angus heifers and is trying to get a cow herd established over in Russia and I think really what the main reason is, is they’re trying to protest these that are starting to raise cattle over there.”

But the ban could affect the Texas pork industry, as well as some other Texas horticultural crops.

AgriLife Extension international trade economist Dr. Luis Ribera says farmers and ranchers will have to find new markets — which can’t be done overnight.

“We’ve seen this with the wheat embargo a while back. We really don’t know how it’s going to readjust, but I think, you know, the citizens in Russia are the ones that are going to feel the most. Of course, you know, producers here in the short-term — they have to find a market, ” said Ribera. 

But Dr. Ribera says the ban could actually benefit Texans at the grocery store.

“I would say there’s going to be a decrease in price. And the reason is that you’re going to have an oversupply of products because you don’t have a market overseas. The products are gonna stay in country, so it’s basically the opposite of that is gonna happen in Russia,” said Ribera.  

Pete Bonds with the Texas cattle group says this is just another obstacle for Texas farmers and ranchers to overcome.

“It is. It’s one of these things that you can’t really prepare for because you never know when you’re going to get blindsided with it. (You) kind of have to go along and help keep your markets protected through the futures and, you know this is something that we will survive,” said Bonds.

Russia is also threatening to ban the sale of products from McDonald’s, which has a presence there — but they say it’s for suspected additives in burgers, fish, chicken and dairy products.

 

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