R-CALF USA Statement on Montana Beef Export and Investment Agreement with China
Billings, Mont. – R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement following U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ November 8 announcement that he has secured an agreement with China for beef exports and Chinese investments in Montana’s livestock infrastructure.
"The express purpose of Senator Daines’ agreement with a Chinese company and the Bank of China is not just to facilitate beef procurement; but also, to achieve cooperation and collaboration for Chinese investments in Montana assets: ‘a brand-new Slaughter House and Feedlot Infrastructures in Montana.’
"It is contrary to conservative principles and fundamentally wrong for a U.S. Senator to invite communist China to begin colonizing Montana’s cattle industry.
"In the wake of the communist government-backed Chinese acquisition of the United States’ largest pork producer, Smithfield Farms, R-CALF USA and over 200 U.S.-based farm, livestock and consumer groups warned Congress on October 4, 2017 that foreign ownership in U.S. agriculture undermines U.S. farm income and drains resources from rural communities.
"We wrote in our letter to Congress that continuing to allow the extraction of U.S. resources from rural communities by foreign companies should be raising alarm bells.
"China is not a market economy, it does not respect capitalism, and it is a fierce and formidable mercantilist that is weakening America’ manufacturing and production sectors through currency misalignment, exploitation through investment in critical resources, and its use of state-owned enterprises that masquerade as private companies.
"It is quite clear that China’s purpose in securing Senator Daines’ support for this agreement is to soften the resistance to China’s acquisition of Montana’s critical livestock infrastructure – what better way to do that than to first promise new market access to sitting Senator.
"Under the agreement, China’s beef procurement will not be expected to make a new market for domestic beef; but rather, China would only have to pay the fair market value for Montana beef. This means all China has to do is match whatever bid was made in the domestic market, without having to actually be involved in the competitive bidding process. This is a shrewd tactic by China that will actually suppress competition in the U.S. beef and cattle market.
"It is also strange that a U.S. Senator would negotiate an agreement that benefits only a small subsection of Montana cattle producers, in this case only members of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. That leaves thousands of Montana producers of high-quality cattle who are aligned with other organizations such as the Montana Farm Bureau, Montana Farmers Union, the Montana Cattlemen’s Association and R-CALF USA out of the loop.
"We urge Senator Daines to withdraw from this dangerous invitation that helps China capture even more of the United States’ critical livestock infrastructure and further urge him to begin negotiating with U.S.-based investors to help us rebuild our U.S. cattle industry, increase market competition, and keep industry profits in the United States, not in a communist country’s treasury."
R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle and sheep industries.