China’s proposed pork tariff hike could hurt Nebraska hog farmers

China’s proposed pork tariff hike could hurt Nebraska hog farmers

Originally posted by 1011 News- Carly Jenson

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska exports millions of dollars in pork to China every year, but all that bacon could soon carry a hefty tax.

Earlier this month President Trump announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. In response, China announced a proposal to put a 25 percent tariff on all pork imported from the U.S.

The latest numbers from the State Department of Ag shows Nebraskans export more than $25 million of pork to China and Hong Kong.

O’Neel Farms is just one of many hog farms in Nebraska. They said the pork industry in Nebraska is flourishing, but the new tariff proposed by China could cripple the growth.

Pigs, specifically selling pigs, is what keeps O’Neel Farms running successfully.

“We’ve been doing this for over 30 years now and we actually would like to expand here in the future,” said farm owner Terry O’Neel.

O’Neel’s farm has a five person staff. Although they want to grow, it could be put on hold because of China’s proposed pork tariffs.

“We depend on moving that product out of the country for that expansion. It may cause people to have second thoughts of expanding their operation if some type of trade interrupting barrier takes place. So, it’s very important to us to keep those trade markets open,” said O’Neel.

“We know that most of our pork that is variety meats, such as the hearts, the livers, and things we don’t eat here in the United States, 82 percent of that goes outside the United States and that’s incredibly important for us as pork producers to have a market for that and a lot of that goes to the country of China,” said O’Neel.

O’Neel said any trade barrier with China would have a big impact on his family business.

“Anything that decreases exports causes a loss of my revenue stream or my profitability of myself and fellow pork producers,” said O’Neel.

But he said it won’t just affect farmers.

“The processing level, the retail, trucking, it does have a cascading affect once you hurt the export markets,” said O’Neel.

China’s Commerce Ministry continues to urge Washington to try and find a compromise. As of right now, the pork tariffs are just a proposal.