Pork Profit Maximizer – Retail Edition

USDA announced on October 18 that it was suspending all pork imports from Poland. This followed a finding that a processing facility in Poland had shipped product without following the very stringent protocols put in place to protect against African Swine Fever. The finding also triggered a quick review of all the export protocols for that country. After the expeditious review was completed, USDA announced on October 25 that it was going to lift the suspension and pork from eligible areas in Poland can once again be shipped to the US. Poland ships a fair amount of bellies and belly processors were paying close attention to this development (see chart for rough est).

One question that has come up before is why US allows pork from countries that have had outbreaks of African Swine Fever to ship the product to the US. The answer has to do with the concept of regionalization, something that the US and European Union subscribe to. It is important to understand that this concept, in the long run, helps US producers.

We live in an interconnected world. If the disease is found somewhere in the United States and we can demonstrate that the disease is contained, then we want our trading partners to continue to buy pork from areas not affected. If we were to insist on suspensions based on political boundaries, then an outbreak in a small farm in say New Jersey would mean pork from North Carolina or Iowa or Oklahoma, thousands of miles away, would be shut out of global trade. With over 20% of US pork currently going to export, it is critical that we keep export markets open even if the disease is found somewhere in the US.