BSE Won’t Stop US Beef Export Growth
The first time mad cow disease appeared in the U.S., beef exports plunged 82 percent. More than eight years later, the discovery of an infected dairy cow in California may do little to prevent shipments from surging to a record for a second straight year.
U.S. beef sales to buyers including Mexico, China and Japan will jump 6 percent to 1.34 million metric tons in 2012, exceeding last year’s record, which the government valued at $4.7 billion, said Global AgriTrends, a Denver-based researcher that advises meat companies, investment banks and hedge funds. The company affirmed its forecast after the U.S. reported its fourth case of mad cow since 2003 and first since 2006.
Detection of the tainted carcass before it entered the human food chain should bolster confidence that U.S. meat is safe, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday, as cattle prices rebounded in Chicago. Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea, the four biggest buyers of U.S. beef, said they won’t halt purchases, bolstering prospects for agricultural exports that are a foundation of President Barack Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. sales overseas by 2015.
“The world market has shown that it can absorb any new mad cow information without causing a disruption in trade,” said Chris Hitch, the president of Hitch Enterprises in Guymon, Oklahoma, which owns two feedlots that can hold about 90,000 head of cattle. “International demand for beef is growing, and will continue to grow, with rising incomes in developing nations, especially Asia.”