President Trump Suggests Terminating Cattle Imports


At the announcement of the details of the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program on Tuesday morning, President Trump said he had read that the U.S. imports cattle and he suggested to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that trade deals allowing cattle imports should be terminated.

“We have a lot of cattle in this country, and I think you should look at the possibility of terminating those trade deals,” Trump told Perdue. The president later said, “I’m saying, why are we bringing in cattle when we have so much ourselves?”

Nearly all live cattle imports that come into the United States come from Canada and Mexico, and the Trump administration just completed a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). So far this year, Mexico has exported 544,000 cattle into the U.S., of which about 80% are feeder steers. Canada has exported about 250,000 head to the U.S., of which just over 70% are animals direct for slaughter. Cattle imports from both Canada and Mexico are down slightly year to date from 2019, according to USDA reports.

In response to those comments from President Trump regarding cattle imports, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Colin Woodall issued the following statement:

“Today’s comment by President Donald Trump demonstrates the complexity of the U.S. beef business. Live cattle imports to the United States only come from Canada and Mexico and will continue to do so under the terms of the President’s newly negotiated USMCA. America has not imported live cattle from other nations for several years. However, if President Trump is serious about reconsidering import decisions, NCBA and its members strongly request the White House to take another look at his decision to allow fresh beef imports from nations like Brazil, where there continue to be concerns with foot-and-mouth disease and USDA’s decision to reopen the American market to Brazilian beef.

“Beef trade is a complex business, and America’s cattle producers rely on safe and reliable international trading partners, both as a destination for the undervalued cuts we produce here, such as hearts, tongues, and livers, and for importation of lean trim for ground beef production to meet strong consumer demand. Approximately 12 percent of beef consumed in the U.S. is imported product, but that product must meet the U.S. standards for safety before it is allowed into our market.

“President Trump has shown his willingness to negotiate difficult trade deals and take on tough trading partners, and NCBA thanks him for the attention he has given to beef. We encourage him to re-examine the decision to reopen the market to imports from Brazil, Namibia, and any other nation where there are food safety or animal health concerns that could impact American consumers or cattle producers. A re-evaluation of those imports can accomplish his goals of protecting both American cattle producers and American consumer confidence in our own beef supply chain.”



Northern Ag Network/DTN/NCBA


Dean Michael Jacobs May 19, 2020 - 7:08 pm

It’s about time!

John J Hofer May 19, 2020 - 7:24 pm

Wow Way to go Trump. Hope you can get it done.America FIRST.

Kay Clark May 19, 2020 - 8:03 pm

Please take care of America First. Take care of our farmers and ranchers!

Joan Miske May 19, 2020 - 9:08 pm

YES YES YES, we should have never imported meat. We MUST become self sufficient…. WE MUST

Sheila Lyons May 19, 2020 - 9:45 pm

Thank You President Trump for caring about the American Farmer and Cattle Ranchers! They are the backbone of America!!!

Dan Simpson May 20, 2020 - 9:34 am

Trump finaly has a good idea . My calves sold for $1700.00 each when Brazil beef was banned, now they sell for $850.00 each. So look who is aginst Trump on this one, NCBA now all can see who they really represent.

Michelle B Van Dyke May 20, 2020 - 8:15 pm

Awesome decision. It is about time we took our country’s best interests first.

Paul S Jurenas May 21, 2020 - 7:50 am

Thank you Mr President! A lot of special interests out there so it will not be done easily. We, as cattle producers, need to unite much better and look out for our interests! Next step is the COOL law fraud repeal!

Bill Anderson May 22, 2020 - 8:34 am

I’m thinking it’s about time.. cattle r a huge part of not the top of a food source here in this Beautiful United States.. I think that the meat Packers need to get there crap together tho. If not cut them out at least cut the import cattle down by 3/4 . An Brazilian cattle need to be BAND period..

Lawrence Olsen May 22, 2020 - 1:24 pm

President Trump should look at the lamb industry to stop importing lamb from Australia and New Zealand

Grain May 22, 2020 - 5:31 pm

Right and I hope we don’t ever send any grain or beef out of our country. Those countries don’t want our grain anyway.

Michael Robie May 22, 2020 - 10:22 pm

To me, it’s obvious we are not going to cut off the live cattle trade between our "friends", Mexico and Canada. Trump said as much, when he made the caveat, "unless they are our friends". Give us back Country of Origin Labeling. Let us compete on our merits, and let the consumer decide. We cattlemen are not asking for protection or hand outs. Just a level playing field where the consumer knows what they are eating, and they can make their choice. Also, our Check Off Dollars should be spent promoting USA grown beef, not foreign countries that are not contributing.

Butch Ortner May 25, 2020 - 10:06 pm

Yes, I think we should import less cattle into the USA. American cattle that are born, bred, fed and slaughtered in this country should come first. And they should be labeled as a product of the USA. Imported beef ( all meat including lamb ) should be labeled as Imported from country of origin. Meaning where was the animal born? It isn’t that hard to figure out. American producers should come first. Period.


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