US consumers may benefit from Russian poultry import ban

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ATLANTA – Now that Russia has banned imports of poultry and other US agricultural products including pork, fish, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and nuts in a seemingly escalating trade war with the US and its allies, American consumers may actually pay less for chicken in the coming months, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Russia’s immediate, one-year ban follows US trade sanctions related to the Ukraine conflict and the downing of a Malaysian airliner. As a result of this ban, thousands of metric tons of dark meat leg quarters that make up of the largest share of poultry exports to Russia will now have to be consumed in the US, and that will drive prices lower, predicted Tom Hensley, president of Baldwin, Ga.-based Fieldale Farms. However, producers will be hurt more by the Russian import ban. Poultry, Georgia’s largest agricultural export to Russia, will be hit hardest by the sanctions.

Georgia poultry exports to Russia have declined over the years, which should soften any blow, according to state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

Only about 7 percent of Georgia poultry products are shipped to Russia today, down from several times that amount two decades ago, a reduction also reflected in US poultry exports to Russia, said Gary Black, Georgia state agriculture commissioner. He added Georgia poultry producers, who sold about $55 million in poultry to Russia in 2013, have been finding other markets and are becoming less reliant on sales to the country.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia’s total global exports hit $37.6 billion last year, up 4 percent. Of all 50 states, George led in meat and edible offal of poultry exports.

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