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August 12, 2014

Russian Import Ban Unlikely to Harm U.S. Agriculture

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The ban on U.S. agriculture products by Russia announced last week is poised to harm Russian consumers more than American farmers. Micheal Clements has the story.
ClementsThe one-year ban on U.S. agricultural products by Russia last week could bring higher prices to Russian consumers with little ill effect on U.S. agriculture. American Farm Bureau Economist Veronica Nigh says Russia Ranked 20th on our export list last year when American exports to Russia totaled about $1.3 billion.
NighBut that only accounted for about 1 percent of total sales. The bigger impact is on the Russian consumer. Russia imports about 40 percent of its food and we’re predicting shortages and price hikes because the U.S. and the E.U. have been the primary suppliers to the Russian market because we offer a wider variety of food at a lower cost.
ClementsThe ban on U.S. and E.U. products includes all meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Nigh says the U.S. poultry industry will see the biggest hit.
NighIn 2013 we exported about $303 million worth of poultry meat to the Russian market. Russia is the U.S. poultry industry’s second-largest market, so they’ll be scrambling for a while to find new markets for that product, but it’s certainly a robust industry that is very good at carving out new markets for itself and they’re not expecting it to have a long-term impact.
ClementsShe says in many ways the announcement by Russia reminds farmers of the 1980s grain embargoes.
NighBut a lot has changed in U.S. agricultural exports since that time. U.S. farmers and ranchers and the companies that sell their products have worked very hard to diversify their market. So in the case of Russia imposing a ban, isn’t going to have nearly as large of an impact on U.S. farmers as it may have in the past because of those extra efforts we’ve made in creating new markets.
ClementsMicheal Clements, Washington.

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