Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Delaware cleared to export poultry to Russia

Source: The News Journal

By Sarah Lawson

June 26, 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says an importation ban on some U.S. poultry to Russia that has been in place since September 2008 is being lifted for 19 U.S. poultry farms, including Delaware's Mountaire Farms in Millsboro and Selbyville.

Delaware Democratic Sens. Tom Carper and Ted KAUFMAN were among 25 senators to sign a letter putting pressure on the White House to press for lifting the ban during Medvedev's trip this week to the United States. Carper appealed to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce for an end to the ban earlier this month.

Russia, which cited health concerns in its original decision to impose the ban, was accused by Delaware lawmakers, including then-Sen. Joe Biden, of making a political move with the ban.

"Today's agreement will once again allow the United States to export our chickens to Russia -- reopening a critical market for poultry producers in Delaware and across the country," KAUFMAN said in a statement.

The ban didn't significantly hurt the Delmarva area's $2.5 billion poultry industry.

In the year before the ban, Delaware companies exported $4.5 million in chicken meat and parts to Russia, according to the International Trade and Development Office, part of Delaware's Office of Management and Budget. But for 2008, the year the ban was implemented, the state's poultry exports to Russia alone jumped to $7 million.

In 2009, those figures jumped to about $22 million, according to the international trade office.

As of April, Delaware farms have exported $220,000 in poultry to Russia.

According to John Pastor, director of the state's International Trade and Development Office, U.S. poultry exports to Russia in 2009 totaled $762,350,644, of which Delaware's share was only 3 percent. Delaware began exports to Russia in 1998.

On Monday, Carper will visit Allen Family Foods, a large chicken farm in Seaford, to discuss the ban. The Allen company, as well as Perdue Farms in Maryland, weren't affected by the ban.

Spokespeople for both Allen Farms and Mountaire were unavailable for comment Friday.

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