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Correction: Russia Ban-Kansas story

August 8, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — In a story Aug. 7 about how Russia’s food import ban may affect Kansas, The Associated Press erroneously reported that Russia bought 1.99 million metric tons of poultry during the first six months of this year and that it amounted to 6 percent of U.S. poultry production. The 1.99 million metric tons was the amount Russia bought in 2001 and was the most it bought in any year, and this year Russia has bought 6 percent of U.S. poultry exports, not 6 percent of its overall poultry production.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Little impact in Kansas from Russia food sanctions

Little impact in Kansas’ wheat, beef markets expected from Russian ban on US food imports


Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Russia’s ban on U.S. food imports will hurt Russia more than it will hurt Kansas farmers, the state’s trade director said Thursday.

In retaliation for sanctions the Obama administration has imposed for Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, Russia announced Thursday that it’s banning most food imports from the West. A global market analyst says the impact on the U.S. agriculture markets, including Kansas, is minimal because Russia has already banned many agricultural products in the past.

Kansas sells more than $50 million worth of ag products each year to Russia, said J.J. Jones, the state Agriculture Department’s international trade director. The commodities vary from year to year, but in recent years it has been mostly soybeans and breeding cattle, according to state agriculture statistics.

“While the Kansas Department Agriculture hopes that this market will reopen soon, Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses have many other markets around the globe that desire high-quality Kansas agricultural products,” Jones said Thursday in an email. “Ultimately, these sanctions will hurt Russia more than Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.”

Kansas is a major producer of cattle as well as wheat, corn, sorghum and soybeans. The first half of this year alone, the state sold $15 million worth of soybeans to Russia, Jones said.

Russia typically buys $149 million worth of live cattle each year from the United States, and Kansas is one of its top three suppliers, Jones said in a phone interview. But sales of breeding cattle to Russia already had been dwindling because of domestic demand as U.S. ranchers rebuild their own herds amid easing drought conditions.

“Russia can’t compete with domestic prices,” he said.

Plus, Kansas producers already had started learning to live without a Russian market for beef. Kansas hasn’t sold beef there in the past two years because of the country’s ban on growth additives fed to cattle.

“The ban’s impact has been softened because Russia has already banned so many U.S. products in the past,” said Brett Stuart, co-founder of the Denver-based market analytical firm Global AgriTrends.

Russia grows its wheat and is a competitor of Kansas in global markets, according to Aaron Harries, marketing director for the trade group Kansas Wheat.

“In terms of Kansas farmers, there is not going to be any impact,” Harries said.

Russia bought only $160,000 worth of Kansas wheat this year, most likely a single shipment of either a specialty or high-quality wheat to mix with its own supplies, Jones said.

Russia also used to be the No. 1 market for U.S. poultry, but through a variety of bans and other trade barriers, “we have mostly weaned ourselves away from Russia” on poultry, Stuart said. Russia’s peak import came in 2001 when it purchased about 1.99 million metric tons of U.S. poultry exports, or 37 percent. That had fallen to 6 percent before the new sanctions, he said.

All that added chicken on the market could potentially affect prices of other meats such as beef, Kansas Livestock Association spokesman Todd Domer said.

A disruption of wheat supplies coming out of Ukraine or Russia could disrupt world markets and drive up grain prices, as the Black Sea region is a major supplier of wheat and some feed grains, said Dan O’Brien, a Kansas State University Extension grain market specialist.

“The trend has been toward escalation there, rather than not,” O’Brien said. “So, despite assurances we have given, it sure bears watching as to the potential market impact of in essence grain exports being unable to safely and reliably come out of that part of the world.”

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