North Carolina pork producer and National Pork Producers Council president David Herring had a lot to say on the topic of trade mitigation relief for farmers during an op-ed piece in The Hill. Herring wrote that the program’s overarching goals are to provide demand stimulus for the entire pork industry, and if foreign-owned companies are not permitted to participate in government purchase programs, those programs likely will not work.
“Unfortunately, some people are focused on whether the meat companies have some degree of foreign ownership,” he said. “That is irrelevant. Since when is foreign ownership of U.S. companies that employ thousands of Americans, purchase millions of hogs, and produce U.S. pork a problem?”
Pork producers have been hit hard by the trade war with China, to the tune of about $2.5 billion. A part of the administration’s trade aid announced last year, the USDA announced a food purchase and distribution program. The agency would buy pork and other farm products for various food-assistance programs.
Going into 2018, the financial analysts had forecast profits for U.S. hog producers. However, those forecasts were turned upside down by trade retaliation penalties. “Only now are we starting to pull out of the red,” Herring added, “but because of trade retaliation, our small profits are significantly suppressed.”