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Producers Give USMEF $30K to Promote Pork in Korea
Illinois Ag Connection - 09/11/2018

As the fall season approaches, Illinois pig farmers are facing numerous hurdles. This includes market uncertainty, costly challenges due to trade disputes, vulnerability to foreign animal diseases, and a labor shortage.

In Illinois alone, these difficulties are impacting an industry that generates $1.8 billion annually to our state's economy and offers 10,500 jobs. While the entire agriculture industry is struggling with similar issues, the pork industry is shouldering much of the burden.

The Illinois Pork Producers Association board of directors just announced that they are committing $30,000 to the U.S. Meat Export Federation to specifically increase pork demand in Korea. Funds are effective immediately to ensure that action is taken before year end.

Mike Haag, IPPA President from Emington, IL, is proud of the project and wants to get the word out. "On behalf of the IPPA board, we want pig farmers to know that we recognize the struggles at hand and are spending their Checkoff dollars in a wise manner, to increase demand for our product and hopefully bring some profitability back to our farmers."

This effort was discussed and voted upon by the board of directors, which consists of 24 pig farmers and allied industry members from across the state. It was a unanimous vote, with all in favor of giving immediate assistance to support our friends and neighbors in the pork industry.

Korea is the chosen recipient of funds due to their consistent increase of imported U.S. pork. According to USMEF statistics, in the week of August 3-9, net pork sales to Korea were up 216 percent and tons of pork up 37 percent, which is the largest amount in more than three years. Also, Koreans value variety meats from U.S. pork that we do not utilize here in the states.

WH Group, who owns Smithfield Foods, also has interest in the Korean market. Smithfield's pork shipments to South Korea jumped as much as 50 percent in the first six months of the year and those to China fell by 20-30 percent.

In 2017, U.S. pork exports were valued at $53.47 per market hog. Without promising trade deals among China, Canada and Mexico, a few of our biggest buyers, over $27.90 per head is at risk. With nearly 50 percent of added export value in danger, we must continue to look for growing markets and put funds where action can be implemented quickly.

The mission of USMEF is "to increase the value and profitability of the U.S. beef, pork and lamb industries by enhancing demand for their products in export markets through a dynamic partnership of all stakeholders." IPPA is a proud stakeholder and has confidence that our funds will be applied effectively.

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