Monday, September 15, 2014

BUSINESS - Why Did China Takeover Biggest U.S. Pork Producer?

"Who’s behind the Chinese takeover of world’s biggest pork producer?" PBS NewsHour 9/12/2014


JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  One year ago this month, a Chinese company bought America’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods.  The $4.7 billion deal is the biggest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company to date.

Nathan Halverson from the Center for Investigative Reporting looks into the Chinese government’s role in the takeover.  This story was produced as part of the Food for 9 Billion series, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting and Homelands Productions, with broadcast partners the “PBS NewsHour,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace” and PRI’s “The World.”

NATHAN HALVERSON:  Pork pride is everywhere in Smithfield, Virginia.

This small town of 8,000 dubs itself the ham capital of the world.  Painted pigs line Main Street.  And at the taste of Smithfield Cafe, bacon graces nearly every plate.  The town’s museum even features the world’s oldest edible ham.  And some in town still produce ham as it was done generations ago.

MAN:  We are curing hams the same way it was done during colonial times, Jamestown, Williamsburg, right on up to now.

NATHAN HALVERSON:  The town is also home to the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods.  This factory processes more than 10,000 pigs a day.

MAN:  We have got boneless loins, bone-in loins, butts, back ribs, spareribs, neck bone, cushions.  We have got an assortment of everything.

NATHAN HALVERSON:  And this is going all over the country?

MAN:  All over the world.

"How will China feed its growing middle class?" PBS NewsHour 9/13/2014


SUMMARY:  China consumes half of the world's pork.  And the country's growing middle class — bigger than the population of the United States — wants more meat.  Nathan Halverson of The Center for Investigative Reporting looks at how China plans to meet that demand.

LESTER BROWN, Author "Who Will Feed China":  China is roughly the same size as the United States.  The cropland area is similar.  The grain harvest is similar.  The difference is, in the U.S. we have 300 million people and there, they have 1.4 billion people.

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