Archive for June, 2010

National Chicken Council Welcomes News of Trade Agreement with Russia

June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON – June 24, 2010 — The National Chicken Council welcomed the news today that Russia has agreed to allow imports of U.S.-produced chicken under certain conditions.

“The reopening of the Russian market is good news for American chicken producers and processors,” NCC President George Watts said in a statement. “We thank President Obama and government officials and members of Congress who were involved in resolving this issue.”

A full assessment of the impact on the U.S. chicken industry depends on the details and implementation of the agreement reached by U.S. and Russian officials and announced today by President Obama. Many members of Congress had urged the President to address the issue in his meetings with Russian President Medvedev.

Before Russia imposed a cutoff of U.S. chicken imports, the trade was worth as much as $800 million per year.

Dozens of members of the House and Senate, including Senators Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, chairman and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Agriculture Committee, wrote to President Obama to urge speedy resolution of the issue.

The National Chicken Council is the trade association for vertically integrated chicken production and processing companies. Member companies of NCC account for about 95 percent of the broiler chickens produced in the United States.

GIPSA’s Proposed Rule Is One-Sided and Unrealistic

June 18, 2010

WASHINGTON – June 18, 2010 — The National Chicken Council released the following comment today on the rule proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration.

NCC will review the draft regulation carefully and make appropriate comments. However, the regulation appears to be one-sided, unrealistic, and not in accordance with court rulings. The likely result will be years of litigation and uncertainty as companies, growers and the government try to sort out the impact on what has been an efficient system for producing an agricultural commodity.

• USDA’s statement that the average chicken company “makes $3.23 a bird” is grossly misleading since that figure is an approximate wholesale value and not the profit, which is only a small percentage of that amount.

• The regulation was clearly drafted to satisfy a small number of activist growers and will do nothing to enhance the business of the great majority of broiler producers who are satisfied with the current system.

• Eight different U.S. circuit courts of appeal have ruled that the Packers and Stockyard Act requires a showing of harm to competition. USDA’s outline of the new rule specifically welcomes yet more litigation by calling for “judicial reexamination of this issue.”

This proposed regulation is not in the best interests of poultry producers, companies, or consumers.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

National Chicken Council Thanks Agriculture Secretary for Purchase Program for Chicken

June 15, 2010

WASHINGTON – June 15, 2010 — The National Chicken Council expressed the industry’s deep thanks today to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for USDA’s purchase program for dark-meat chicken. Secretary Vilsack cited the prolonged trade dispute with Russia as the impetus for the program.

“USDA’s purchase is a timely action that will relieve the industry of excess product while providing high-quality food to needy people here at home – a true win-win,” said NCC President George Watts. “We are delighted to be able to provide this product to the government for distribution to food banks and other outlets.”

Under normal circumstances, companies in the U.S. chicken industry sell more than 700,000 metric tons of chicken legs to Russia every year – about 1.5 billion pounds. Russia closed its market to chicken imports from the U.S. on January 1, 2010, ostensibly because Russian officials objected to the fact that American chicken processing plants use chlorinated water in processing chickens.

Negotiations to resolve the issue have dragged on for several months while product has been placed in cold storage due to the relatively limited domestic market for dark meat. American consumers prefer white meat, and while they also eat plenty of dark meat, they cannot consume all that is produced, considering that the chicken is nearly half dark meat by weight. The product to be sold to the government is the same as normally sold in the domestic market.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

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