Hog Farmers Hope To Benefit From U.S., China Merger

China's largest meat processor is buying U.S.-based Smithfield foods, and that could provide a major opportunity for hog farmers.

pig

Photo: Dylan Snow (flickr)

A pig stands in a pin with other animals at Cherry Hill Farms.

Indiana hog farmers are hoping to cash in on an international merger between a U.S. and Chinese company.

China’s largest meat processor Shuanghui International announced Wednesday it is buying Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest meat producer.

Smithfield owns one operation in Peru, Indiana, and it is unclear how that facility will be affected by the deal.

But Indiana Pork spokesperson Sarah Ford says the state’s pork producers are looking to expand their business, and this could be a good start.

“We are excited about any opportunities that could open export market to our producers, so if this opens up opportunities for exports to China, then we are supportive of that,” Ford says.

Purdue University Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says it is too soon to tell whether the acquisition will benefit the state, but there are a lot of possibilities.

“We do know the magnitude of Chinese market is enormous, it actually could be very favorable for Indiana Producers, in the longer run, opening up more trade channels, it essentially saying more demand for U.S Pork,” Hurt says.

Hurt says there are some concerns such as losing control of the U.S. facilities as well as the underlying political differences between the two countries’ governments.

The plan must still be approved by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment. A press release from Smithfield says that process expected to be complete in the next six months.

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