Mississippi Poultry Farmers Received Early Lessons on Global Trade Conflicts with Russia – Prentiss Headlight


Forget for a moment, if you can, the horrible human cost of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Put aside the sad faces of the dead and maimed, the displaced and the suffering, and the millions of refugees in the face of catastrophe.

Focus on how the war affects you most immediately at this point – in your purse, your wallet or your family budget.

Consumers are taught lessons about global trade and economic policy, food insecurity and how much we all depend on farmers around the world for our livelihoods – and all of this knowledge is acquired on simple trips to the grocery store and petrol pumps.

According to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Mississippi’s largest cash crop is poultry and egg production at a whopping $2.42 billion which fuels some 32,000 direct jobs and another 64,000 indirect/induced jobs among suppliers and other ancillary services.

Generally, chickens eat grains. Their journey from farm to market, from commercial chicken coops to poultry processing plants, includes transportation on petroleum-powered trucks.

Russia has a global supply of oil and gas – and a petrochemical infrastructure capable of delivering a substantial amount of fertilizer to the world.

More than 25% of the world’s grain trade is produced in Russia and Ukraine, earning it the nickname “breadbasket of the world”. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a series of falling dominoes were set in motion, causing uncertainty in global financial markets, global food supplies, global energy markets and virtually every activity used to produce food suddenly became more expensive.

Where does this reality leave us? What will be the impacts?

“The war in Ukraine threatens staple crops in Europe’s main grain regions, which means that the escalating food prices that are already plaguing consumers around the world could worsen, increasing the threat of a real hunger crisis,” Bloomberg trade analyst Elizabeth wrote. Elkin, Allison Nicole Smith and Sybilla Gross on March 13. “The United Nations has warned that already-record global food costs could rise another 22% as war stifles trade and reduces future harvests.”

Since the Carter administration, US economic sanctions against Russia and grain embargoes have been on the global economic stage. Poultry farmers in Mississippi, who have found a ready market in Russia for ‘dark’ meat that American consumers have rejected, were among the first to feel the sting of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s politics after the 2014 crisis in Ukraine when Russia annexed Crimea and provoked war. in the Donbas region.

In response to economic sanctions from the United States and the European Union in 2014, Russia instituted an import ban on agricultural products, raw materials and food, including poultry meat from Mississippi. Three Russian scholars from Russia’s Plekhanov University of Economics and the Russian University’s Institute of Transport Law, both in Moscow, studied the impact of the ban on Russian markets in a journal article scientist of 2018,

The results? In volume, poultry imports decreased by 14%. In comparison, the value fell by 6%: “Before the embargo, the main supplier of poultry meat to the Russian Federation was the United States (51%), Belarus (16%) and Brazil (10 %). After the embargo, the United States (30%) remained the main supplier with Brazil (21%). A significant share of the market for poultry meat supply to the Russian Federation was captured by Belarus (26%).

It is the same Belarus that is now Putin’s current ally in the invasion of Ukraine.

According to US Census data, in 2013 Russia imported about $1.3 billion worth of US food and agricultural products, or about 11% of all US exports. The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service reports that Russia extended the import ban for the next eight years.

A two-year pandemic followed by a perfect disruption of global grain and energy supplies is a bad recipe for runaway inflation, food insecurity and soaring energy prices – which is hard unless one thinks of the tragic fate of the Ukrainian people.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at [email protected]

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