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The Tonnage is Moving to China

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Touch the Soil News #719 (feature photo – U.S. Dept. of Interior) By tonnage, we mean pork. The U.S. citizenry prides itself in living in a nation of vast agricultural resources. That pride, however, is not tempered by the reality that America is part of a global market. That means Americans must compete with the world for food produced in America – ditto for Canadians and ditto for the Europeans. Pork exports into China in the first quarter are at all-time highs as follows: Canadian pork exports to China in the first quarter of 2017 – 93,000 metric tonnes U.S. pork exports to China in the first quarter of 2017…

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Got Pork?

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Touch the Soil News #554 The huge meat company Smithfield owns brands like Weight Watchers, Armour and Butterball. Smithfield began operations in 1946 and fell under criticism by the USDA in 2006 for becoming too big after buying out dozens of its competitors over the years. Ironically, in 2013, the U.S. approved the sale of Smithfield to Chinese pork conglomerate WH Group. At the time, Smithfield was the world’s largest pork processor. With Smithfield in their pocket, The WH Group just now happens to be the world’s largest pork processor. Incidently, the WH Group just purchased California’s largest pork processor – Clougherty Packing LLC which owns the Farmer John brand…

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The External Tentacles on American Agriculture

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Touch the Soil News #501 Few folks realize that global trade agreements mean that foreign interests can own and operate agricultural enterprises in America the same as Americans. Back in 2013, the world’s largest pork processing company – Smithfield Foods – was purchased by Chinese state-supported company Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. for $14 billion. Brands such as Smithfield, Nathan’s, Armour and Farmland are icons in America – but are Chinese owned. Today, Smithfield has over 50,000 employees in the U.S., Mexico and 10 European countries. The company also owns the world’s largest slaughterhouse and meat-processing plan in the world located in Tar Heel, North Carolina. Overall, the company processes over…

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Global Food – Can Be a Real Porker

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Touch the Soil News #479 A few days ago, in news piece #473, we wrote about domino effects in the food chain. Recently, Rabobank, the world’s largest agricultural bank headquartered in the Netherlands reported on the domino effects of the pork industry. Unlike other banks, Rabobank is partly a cooperative. The bank has almost 9 million clients (mostly ag) around the world and a fair presence in the United States. Rabobank reported a rather amazing set of dominos falling around the world: Mexico is the largest customer of U.S. pork, with U.S. pork exports to Mexico growing by 10 percent a year. Mexico’s pork production has been stunted due to…

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The Food Domino Effect

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Touch the Soil News #473 Hitting the news recently is a classic example of a food domino effect. Destabilizing effects in the “pork” food chain have created a domino effect between the United Kingdom, China and even the United States as they are all connected to the “pork” food chain. The world’s food chain – hinged together by the financial world – did not historically behave like standing dominoes at risk of being pushed over. Following are some of the reasons why the risk of a food domino effect is so high today: Corporate financial wizardry embraces “just in time” inventories. This means grocery stores and entire cities bring in…

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