U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is in Argentina today celebrating that market’s reopening to American pork products with a ceremonial ham slicing. The new opening, which was finalized with a memorandum of understanding between our two nations back in April, represents the first time in 25 years that U.S. pork will be allowed into Argentina, which has the potential to be a $10 million-a-year market for U.S. pork producers. And the U.S. pork industry consumes nearly 1.2 billion bushels of corn a year.
Export markets are a bright spot for improving the profitability picture of IL Corn farmers. Corn farmers’ checkoff dollars continue to be leveraged with organizations like pork producers and the U.S. Meat Export Federation to build markets. We need trade barriers to be removed and ongoing trade disputes to be settled as soon as possible so that other nations around the world can enjoy U.S. pork, and by extension, U.S. corn, just like Argentina is.
This type of export market is what we categorize as a value-added corn export. Every market-weight hog consumed the equivalent of 9-10 bushels of corn to get to market. Here is Illinois, the hog industry is by far the biggest livestock customer of your Illinois corn with 77% of Illinois corn fed to livestock being consumed by swine.
“Argentina has tremendous potential for U.S. pork exports,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “This is great news for America’s pork producers, who last year exported almost $6.5 billion of pork around the world.”
Argentina, which had a de facto ban on U.S. pork, has a population of more than 44 million and a per capita income of $17,250 – higher than Mexico’s – making it an attractive market for U.S. pork. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes has noted that fresh pork consumption in the country has increased from about 2 lbs. in 2005 to 22 to 26 lbs. today. The Argentine pork industry estimates that by 2020 consumption will increase to 35 to 44 lbs.