Iowans Hoping to Sell Beef Again in China

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Lawmakers across the county are urging the new administration to talk about beef when Chinese President Xi visits with President Trump this week.

News of these potential talks has beef producers in Iowa excited about what could be.

“Again, if we had direct access into China, maybe double or triple that,” said Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau.

It’s easy to tell, why the talks this week have Iowa cattle farmers around that state so excited. Iowa right now, is the 5th biggest beef producer in the country and if the China market opens back up a lot of money could be made.

“China continually is that country that we want to get back into and feed those 1.3 billion mouths,” said Mark Deppe, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

It’s been over a decade since, the US last exported beef directly to China. The main reason was the Mad Cow Disease outbreak of 2003. Since then, beef officials in U.S. have worked to regain the trust of that Asian market. Dave Reber with the Iowa Beef Industry Council, who just got back from Asia on a Trade Mission, says now is the time to reopen our beef trade with China.

“I think there is a trust built up with out product already in that Asian market. So, you build on that situation and I think we have an incredible opportunity right now,” said Dave Rueber, board member, Iowa Beef Industry Council. “The fire is hot right now to do some trade in Asia and particularly grow that China market.”

There is no official timeline on when this could happen, it could be months, it could be years but there is one Iowan that could potentially speed up the process quite a bit.

“We are very hopeful that the relationship Gov. Branstad has with President Xi, on a personal basis, will open doors. Really, what you want out of the ambassador is to help open doors and resolve problems.” said David Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau.