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Russia could end its beef with U.S.

Jeremy Hobson Dec 4, 2007


Scott Jagow: The U.S. beef industry has had a tough time of it. Mad cow disease crushed beef exports by more than half. But things have been turning around. Countries like Japan and Canada have allowed American meat back in. And now, it appears Russia will do the same. Jeremy Hobson reports.

Jeremy Hobson: Before the mad cow mayhem, the U.S. provided about 12 percent of Russia’s beef. Today, zero percent.

That’s according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Thad Lively is a senior vice president there:

Thad Lively: The impact of the loss of the Russian market along with a number of other of the traditional export markets was felt very clearly in the bottom lines of the beef packing industry.

Lively says a return to the Russian market could be lucrative. A growing standard of living there has Russians hungry for higher quality cuts of meat.

Gregg Doud is chief economist at the National Cattleman’s Beef Association:

Gregg Doud: Russia is today the biggest market for Brazilian beef, Argentine beef, Paraguay beef. It’s a huge market, and now we’ve got an opportunity to get on the menu there as well.

Doud says Russia could bring in $1-$300 million in business in the first year.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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