LINCOLN, NEB. – The Winter Olympics aren’t the only reason for Nebraskans to focus on South Korea, according to a report released by the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Friday, Feb. 23. The report,“U.S.- Korea Trade Agreement and Nebraska Agriculture”, shows Nebraska’s beef and pork sectors are the biggest winners of the U.S.- Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS). The report provides a dollars and cents breakdown of the value of KORUS to farmers, ranchers, Nebraska counties, and the implications to Nebraska’s broader economy. It also highlights the potential risk for Nebraska should the Trump administration renegotiate KORUS in a way that would negatively impact agriculture.
“South Korea is the second-largest importer of U.S. beef and beef products, importing 17 percent of total U.S. beef exports in 2016. It’s also the second-largest importer of U.S. hides and skins, our third-largest importer of corn, and fifth-largest importer of pork and pork products. South Korea is also a growing importer of distillers dried grains associated with ethanol production,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “We must be careful that any renegotiation of KORUS does not disrupt the flow of U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea.”
Nebraska’s average agricultural exports to South Korea increased from $210 million in the three-year period before KORUS implementation in 2012 (2009-11) to $321 million in the three years following (2014-16), an increase of 52 percent. The report shows beef and beef products and pork and pork products were Nebraska’s two largest agricultural exports to South Korea in 2016, with total Nebraska beef exports totaling $221 million and Nebraska pork exports totaling $39 million.
“We’ve broken down the KORUS agreement in a way that we can instantly see its value to Nebraska. For example, the analysis shows that Nebraska’s exports of beef to South Korea in 2016 were worth $34.35 per-head. That means for every head of cattle produced in Nebraska, KORUS beef exports contributed $34.35 per-head in value to Nebraska beef producers,” said Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau senior economist and author of the report. “Our analysis clearly shows that Nebraska’s beef and pork sectors are the biggest winners in the KORUS agreement, with pork producers seeing an $11.52 per-head benefit from the KORUS trade deal.”
The report also examines the per farm/ranch, and per county implications of KORUS, as well as examining the value of KORUS on a commodity-by-commodity basis for each Nebraska county.
“We’ve examined the importance of KORUS for every county in the state of Nebraska as it relates to corn, beef, pork, and distillers grains. We weren’t able to examine soybeans, soybean meal, wheat, and other commodities due to a lack of specific data on exports to South Korea,” said Rempe.
When it comes to counties, the report shows Cuming County having a total export value of $12,521, 811, making it the highest dollar export value county in the state, based on the strength of its beef production. Similarly, the report shows Wheeler County has the most at stake in KORUS on a per farm/ranch basis as the trade agreement is estimated to be worth $19,949 to the average agriculture operation in that county,” said Rempe. “These are just a few of the highlights. The full report provides a very complete overview of what KORUS means for Nebraska agriculture at an individual and county basis.”
According to Nelson, the report’s finding paints a very clear picture of the need to ensure KORUS remains intact.
“KORUS is a critical agreement for our Nebraska beef and pork producers and the related sectors that support them. Clearly KORUS is providing price support for those commodities and the agreement as a whole has a positive ripple effect in supporting those sectors that ultimately provide support to the state’s overall economy. It’s vital we continue to help demonstrate the importance of these trade agreements to the President and others as we work to renegotiate America’s trade agreements,” said Nelson.
The “U.S. – Korea Trade Agreement and Nebraska Agriculture” report containing the full economic analysis is available on the Nebraska Farm Bureau website at www.nefb.org.