Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pork Market Shows Promise

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Pork Market Shows Promise

Article excerpt

Agreements recently reached between the United States and Russia and China to reopen their markets to U.S. pork provides more of an emotional boost now than the promise of quick profit, said Roy Lee Lindsey Jr., director of the Oklahoma Pork Council.

"It's got potential to be very big in terms of dollars," Lindsey said at the local industry group's annual conference in Oklahoma City. "But it's a bigger thing in terms of psyche as well.

"Announcing that the market's going to be open again doesn't mean we're ready to ship a bunch of pork over there already. But it does reflect positively in the markets as people hear that we'll have increased competition for the product we've already got," he said.

About 125 pork producers and others in the industry were expected this week at the conference, which had been canceled in January due to snow and ice. Oklahoma's 2.5 million head of hogs produce about $560 million in annual gross income, according to the state Agriculture Department.

As Lindsey predicted, one of the big topics of discussion at the event was the potential for increased pork demand overseas. China had closed its doors to the U.S. supply following the so-called swine flu scare last year even though the H1N1 virus had little to do with food, and Russia had banned the meat because of antibiotics concerns. In recent weeks, both countries have reversed their positions with minor safety concessions.

On the latest developments in Russia, National Pork Producers Council President Don Butler said, "We are very pleased that Russia is reopening its market to U.S. pork; it's a very important destination for our products. NPPC also is very appreciative of the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative in getting this deal done."

In 2008, the United States shipped $476 million of pork to Russia, and $700 million to China. …

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