RUSSIAN BAN OF U.S. POULTRY COULD IMPACT ALABAMA FARMERS
"MONTGOMERY, Ala" A Russian ban of American poultry and poultry products could have far-reaching effects on Alabama farmers still recovering from plummeting sales caused by Russia's economic collapse in 1998.
About half of all U.S. poultry exports go to Russia, according to Jimmy Carlisle, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division. Last year, U.S. producers sold Russia about 1 million tons of poultry worth up to $700 million, $70 million of which came from Alabama producers, according to U.S. trade figures.
"The ban by Russia could cause an oversupply," Carlisle said. "While consumers may enjoy lower prices at the grocery store, farmers may feel the effects from the reduced demand. It could mean that a farmer would produce less chickens, therefore reducing his farm income."
Russian agriculture officials announced last week that the country would stop issuing import permits for U.S. chicken and other poultry and would impose a full ban that started March 10.
Russian officials claim American poultry exporters violated Russian regulations by failing to provide proof of the Russian veterinary department's approval for import, improperly labeling packages and supplying meat from enterprises that did not check for salmonella - a situation that U.S. called impossible.
Russian media has linked the poultry ban to the U.S. tariffs on steel, a major Russian export. President Bush imposed tariffs of 8 percent to 30 percent on several types of imported steel earlier this week.