Brazilian Meat Company To Purchase Packer

US - Since the May 29 announcement that Swift & Co, one of the largest U.S. meatpackers, would be sold to JBS SA, the company that controls Brazil's leading beef exporter Friboi, U.S. cattlemen have been sizing up just what the sale might mean.
calendar icon 22 June 2007
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To no surprise, representatives for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and R-CALF USA have quite a different take on the matter.

NCBA's Joe Schuele said his organization really doesn't have any concerns over the deal and that foreign ownership would help avoid further concentration in the industry.

R-CALF's Eric Nelson, however, said the purchase could eventually put U.S. beef producers out of business, as the world's largest cattle herd (Brazil) will have greater access to the world's largest beef-consuming market (United States).

Brazil, with an estimated 207 million head of cattle, over 50 million of which are estimated to be beef cows, has the world's largest cattle herd, he said. By comparison, the United States has less than half that, with approximately 97 million head of cattle, 33 million of which are beef cows.

"What all this means for U.S. cattle producers is that the sleeping giant is awakening and quickly moving in our direction," said Nelson, R-CALF trade committee chairman. "In a free-for-all competition with Brazil under current market conditions, Brazil could drive our domestic prices into the basement, resulting in a mass exodus of U.S. cattle producers."

Source: Bismarck Farm & Ranch Guide
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