Friday, April 28, 2006

Berry Calls for Immediate Resolution to Russian Poultry Ban

I sent a letter today to the President, the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman demanding an immediate resolution to Russia's ban on foreign poultry imports. The ban, which was announced yesterday, would significantly harm Arkansas' poultry industry.

Poultry accounts for 40% of Arkansas' agriculture industry and makes up a substantial part of our economy. The Administration must act immediately to end this ban and protect American farmers. Ignoring or delaying action will bring a significant financial blow to the poultry industry. It is time for the Bush Administration to keep its promise to American farmers.

Russia issued the ban without prior notice or consultation, citing veterinary regulation violations as the reason for its unexpected decision. Russia imported about 1.2 million tons of poultry last year, with more than 80 percent of the imports supplied by the United States. Arkansas is a major contributor in the international poultry market, with the largest exports of any state in the nation, and roughly 7,000 farms across the state tied to the industry.