Farming is a way of life for most in the 33rd District, and Missouri as a whole. Over the years local, state and federal programs, initiatives and legislation have both helped farmers and ranchers – and at times hampered their way of life. Recently, an international decades-old ban was lifted that will have a positive impact on the cattle farmers in our region, and across the country. In early June, a nearly 14-year ban on American beef exports in China came to an end when President Donald Trump signed an agreement to allow beef producers in the United States to export their products to China.
The United States Department of Agriculture explained that cattle producers can begin shipping certain products to China. China imports $2.5 billion in beef every year and exports from our country are expected to increase over time.
This agreement will be a tremendous asset for Missouri agriculture. Currently, Missouri ranks in the top three states for cattle production, with one in 10 Missouri jobs being related to agriculture creating an estimated $88 billion economic impact. Chinese beef imports totaled 601,000 tons before the American export ban. At that time, the United State supplied 80 percent of the beef.
Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry. This agreement will not only benefit farmers across the state, but countless residents and farmers in the 33rd District. I am glad to see the president has supported and worked with the Chinese government to allow this export. Any local, state or federal initiative that will support industry and have a positive impact on the economy, especially farmers, is something I can and will support. I anxiously await the benefits beef exports to China will have on our region.
Mike Cunningham is a Republican member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 33. Contact him at 573-751-1882 or www.senate.mo.gov/cunningham