Increased Beef Exports May Help Oklahoma Ranchers

Thursday, August 8th 2019, 7:49 pm
By: Erick Payne

Ranchers are paying close attention to an agreement between the White House and the European Union, which will allow more beef into Europe.

Livestock makes up a significant portion of the economy in Muskogee County, and leaders said the agreement will be a big financial boost for cattle producers there.

President Trump said the agreement with the European Union will increase duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU by 46 percent, and he said that will go up another 90 percent over the next seven years.

As a result duty free exports will go up from $150 million now to an estimated $420 million.

Scott Clawson is an agriculture economic specialist with the OSU Extension Office in Muskogee. He said the more access cattle producers can get to markets, the better.

"The impact is going to be felt by anyone in the US who's a beef producer," Clawson said.

Oklahoma is the nations fifth-leading producer of cattle.

Muskogee County exports up to 15 percent of their own total production every month. Clawson said this agreement will bolster that by increasing demand.

"It's a step in the right direction. It certainly doesn't need to end here but it's certainly a positive move establishing some of these trade relationships that we depend on so much," Clawson said.

Clawson also said the deal could, at least indirectly, help offset some of the losses from Muskogee County cattle producers impacted by record flooding earlier this year.

"Folks are really pleased about this, we've got some other issues we're struggling with right now in terms of production agriculture, so this has just been a bit of good news," Clawson said.

Clawson said the strength and stability agreements offer just what Oklahoma beef producers need right now.

U.S. beef exports set a new record last year, and that record was set just the year before. The U.S. exported beef to one hundred different countries in 2018.

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