National Farmers Union (NFU) president Roger Johnson sent a letter to US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), in opposition to the proposed acquisition of Smithfield Foods, Inc, by Shuanghui International, a Chinese firm.
“The proposed buyout of Smithfield by a Chinese interest is extremely alarming to NFU members across the country,” said Johnson. “Uncompetitive markets in the pork and beef industries have had a dampening effect on the ability of family farmers and ranchers to stay in business.
In 1980, there were 660,000 hog farms. Today there are only 67,000. In 2011 alone, approximately 2,300 hog producers went out of business.
“The costs of the acquisition far outweigh the benefits to Americans, and the security of our domestic food system is threatened by foreign control,” said Johnson. “ I urge CFIUS to set a bold precedent – that the administration values our farms, our food, and our rural economies so much that the federal government will stand up to a takeover of a large swath of our agriculture industry.”
If the sale is permitted to move forward, Shuanghui would take control of a very large portion of the US pork industry. Smithfield currently controls 15% of domestic pork production and 26% of pork processing in the United States.