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Poultry firms: Russia ban has little impact

 

The Associated Press

 

Poultry producers say Russia's decision to ban imported U.S. meat won't lead to a glut of the product because other countries are clamoring for inexpensive meat. 

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that his country would restrict imports of certain commodities in retaliation for the U.S. and other countries imposing sanctions because of the situation in Ukraine. 

 

Poultry companies should hardly worry about the birds flooding the market and suppressing prices. U.S. poultry production is expected to be around 17.26 metric tons this year and exports are expected to account for nearly 20 percent of production, said Brett Stuart, co-founder of the Denver-based market analytical firm Global AgriTrends. Exports of American poultry to Russia account for a relatively small amount. 

 

Mike Cockrell, the treasurer and chief financial officer for Sanderson Farms, said other markets have emerged to handle any losses -- including the countries of Angola, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea, among others. 

 

"The truth is, we sell chicken to hungry consumers in Russia; we don't sell to Putin," Cockrell said of the Laurel, Mississippi-based company, which is the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S. "Russia has used poultry as a political tool before, but fortunately, Russia is not significantly as big a market as they once were." 

 

Last year, Cockrell said Sanderson Farms shipped about 87.5 million pounds of chicken to Russia -- about $40 million worth -- but that was just 1.5 percent of its total sales in 2013.

 

 

 

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