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Barrow poultry industry could be hurt by Russian ban

POSTED: August 13, 2014 1:00 p.m.

A ban on U.S. food imports by Russia could negatively impact the poultry business at a time when the industry was bouncing back.

Last week Russia announced a one-year ban on U.S. food imports after sanctions were placed on Russia regarding Ukraine. In Barrow County that ban could harm an industry that’s shown positive signs of recovery during a bleak recession.

"It will basically hurt the integrators more so than the producers themselves," State Rep. Terry England said. "What’ll happen is you’ll see the price they’re able to get for chicken will become a glut on the market."

A new flock of chickens typically takes close to two months to develop. The ban could lead to a softer market, which would mean longer breaks in the production schedule, England said.

The ban could cause lower prices for consumers.

"The growers could wind up losing one to two flocks a year in growth that they would normally get paid for," England said.

England said that companies such as Bethlehem-based Harrison Poultry have a much larger stake in a country like China. Since this is a federal issue then there’s not anything that the state legislature could do to address the situation.

"The (U.S.) Secretary of State could play a role in opening the borders back up," England said.

According to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, Russia is the second-leading market for U.S. chicken but exports have decreased dramatically over the last 20 years. Through June this year, Georgia has exported 17,949 tons, compared to 19,953 during the same period of this time last year.

The Times, of Gainesville,
contributed to this report.

 

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