Utah's Farmers And Ranchers Expanding Sales Outside The U.S.
Farmers and ranchers are working with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to reach the 95 percent of the world's consumers who live outside the U.S.
Chinese tariffs have some producers worried, but trade with other countries show promise for the future.
“As pork producers and farmers, we’re used to a lot of price fluctuations in the market and the futures will vary quite a lot. It depends, a lot of times it’s just emotion,” said Todd Ballard, the owner of Ballard Hog Farm in Benson, Utah. “If it turns into several months of tariffs and it goes on quite a while then yeah, there will be some producers that will be impacted because it’s their livelihood and the prices will come down a little bit. Overall it’ll work itself out.”
Ballard said when countries go through tariff disputes, agriculture is one of the industries that are attacked first.
“You have countries battling against each other,” Ballard said. “What a lowly little pig farmer in Utah is going to do isn’t going to make much difference. We just do the best thing we can and produce a really good product.”
Those really good products are gaining popularity in other countries, according to LuAnn Adams, the commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
“You know there are a lot of countries opening up,” Adams said. “I was in Vietnam two years ago and they’re just at ground floor and I think the opportunities for us are tremendous. We’re putting a lot of emphasis on our international trade. They’re learning how good American meats are, our beef, our pork. Our animals are superior and of course, they taste better.”
Adams said she is working with farmers and lawmakers to export Utah’s products around the world.
“We’re going to more trade shows around the world,” Adams said. “This last one was in Mexico. We took Farm Bureau and some of our farmers with us. We’re actually trying to get people out on the ground.”
Utah’s agriculture sector contributes more than $21.2 billion annually in sales to the state according to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Scientists, processors, shippers, truckers and retailers who work with agriculture products, along with farmers and ranchers, have a combined income of $3.5 billion annually across the state.