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AgCenter economist sees little effect from Russian ag embargo

News Release Distributed 08/07/14

BATON ROUGE, La. – Russia’s announced one-year ban on most food imports from the West should have minimal effects on Louisiana agriculture, according to LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry. The embargo covers all imports of meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products from the U.S., Canada, all 28 EU countries plus Norway, and Australia

“While it is never a positive when we lose a potential market, we have to consider the size of that market to really determine its potential impact,” Guidry said.

Over the past five years, Russia has been a relatively minor customer for most U.S. agricultural products, he said.

Russia is a bigger player in the livestock and poultry markets, representing about 7 percent of total poultry and poultry product sales and nearly 3 percent of total livestock and meat product sales over the past five years.

For major row crop commodities, Russia has represented less than 1 percent of total U.S. sales for grains, feed and oilseeds.

“While Russia makes up a small percentage of total sales for most commodities, they still purchase roughly $1 billion in agricultural products from the U.S. each year,” Guidry said. “It is just that total sales of those products are in excess of $100 billion, so Russia’s contribution is relatively small.”

In general, Guidry said he does not think this embargo would have much of a significant impact on the direction of commodity prices for most major row crops.

Future prices for fed cattle and hogs fell on August 7 with some market watchers saying the Russian embargo was at least partially the reason for the downturn, he said. Given that Russia is still a relatively small customer even for these commodities, Guidry expects prices to stabilize and the overall impact to be relatively small.

On the livestock front, exports account for about 20-25 percent of total broiler sales and only about 2-3 percent of total beef sales.

“So even though Russia is a larger customer for these products than for grains and oilseeds, there is still more domestic consumption of beef and poultry than export demand,” Guidry said.

“All in all, while there may be some short-term effects to poultry and livestock prices, my guess is that the impact will be minimal and likely short-lived,” he said. “For crop prices, I would expect minimal if any impact.”

Rick Bogren

Last Updated: 8/7/2014 2:22:24 PM

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