Asia emerges as lucrative market for Illinois cattle farmers

There’s growing demand for U.S. beef in Asian markets, and the Illinois Beef Association sees an opportunity for cattle farmers in the state to expand operations as the call for high-quality beef in Japan and South Korea increases.

Reid Blossom, executive vice president of the association, said Japan is one of the best markets for Illinois cattle farmers, and President Donald Trump is working to open the Chinese market for U.S. beef, which would add an additional 1.4 billion potential consumers.

“An increase in exports to the Pacific Rim and Asia will absolutely lead to higher consumer demand and an increase in cattle prices,” Blossom said.

Approximately 15 percent of domestic beef production in Illinois is exported every year, and roughly $275 of the price of an animal in an Illinois feedyard can be attributed to international demand, Blossom said.

“With some of our largest and strongest export markets being Japan and South Korea currently, it’s obvious that those markets are having a very positive impact on cattle farmers in Illinois,” Blossom said.

The cattle population has grown over the past several years. Blossom said that while it’s not tied to market access or international trade, increased trade opportunities are welcome.

Cattle producers operate with the market fundamentals of supply and demand. The way to augment demand is to add more consumers and give them more opportunities to purchase Illinois beef products without changing supply, according to Blossom.

“That increases the price we get for our animals, and so we’ve been very supportive of efforts on the national level to increase market access overseas,” Blossom said.

China has been a target for Illinois cattle farmers for quite some time because it has the largest population in the world, according to Blossom.

Blossom said there are other beneficial opportunities in the future for Illinois cattle farmers.

“Looking further ahead beyond China, we think the European Union is a wonderful, tremendous target to expand access, as is the Middle East and, after the Brexit vote last year, the United Kingdom,” Blossom said.

–Illinois News Network

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