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OSU's Derrell Peel Returns from Month-Long Expedition in China with New Insight into Its Ag Industry

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:27:11 CDT

OSU's Derrell Peel Returns from Month-Long Expedition in China with New Insight into Its Ag Industry

Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel recently returned from a near month-long stay in China, spending the first half of the trip teaching a class at the China Agricultural University, as part of a joint agribusiness program between the two institutions. He talked about the second half of his trip with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, during which he was able to travel across the country and observe China’s agricultural industry up-close. He offered a summary of what he learned interacting with farmers during his travels.

“China is a big country and a big producer. You see a lot of wheat, corn, rice, soybeans… In general, the scale is smaller. Smaller farmers, smaller farmer units. There is some mechanization but again it tends to be small scale machine kinds of things that you see,” Peel described. “It is fairly labor intensive in addition to that, so it’s coming from those very traditional roots. I think it’s making some changes but it’s still kind of on that end of things at this point.”

Regarding its beef market, Peel says China has historically always had a lot of beef production and consumption. But in recent years, the country as a whole has steadily increased beef consumption to the point that it has rapidly begun to significant outstrip production there. As a result, China has become a very large importer of beef, which has prompted the US beef industry to work aggressively at building its market share there. However, US stakeholders are now getting more and more nervous about how China’s recent promise to retaliate to ongoing trade disputes with the implementation of harsh tariffs on several agricultural products originating from the US. Peel says that the impacts on the US beef industry from Chinese tariffs, though, will be minimal - at least directly - as the export volume of US beef to that country is quite limited. What is more concerning are the indirect impacts that might occur, say if US pork stopped selling there. That could create a situation where domestic competition might build between the two proteins and cause a decline meat values here at home. Despite these challenges, Peel says there is still a lot of promise for the US beef industry, regarding the Chinese market.

“It’s going to be a long, slow process,” he said. “But, there is certainly enormous potential in that market.”

Listen to Peel speak with Hays about his experiences travelling through China and what he learned about its agricultural industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.



Listen to Peel speak with Hays about his experiences travelling through China, on today's Beef Buzz.
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