North Carolina livestock companies sign deals for corn imports

Domestic corn prices have overtaken imports prices, say livestock producers

Family company of North Carolina hog producer Prestage Farms Inc., a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., and poultry company Nash Johnson & Son’ Farms Inc. have signed deals to import 750,000 metric tons of corn from Brazil as a result of high feed prices in the U.S. due to the drought, according to Prestage Senior Vice President John Prestage.

The deals are the largest on record. “As it got drier and drier, we starting thinking, ‘We’d better start looking around’,” said Prestage. “So then we really went to work with the South American connections.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture is estimating 1.9 million metric tons of corn imports from Brazil into the U.S. in the marketing year ending August 31, 2013.

According to Prestage, costs are roughly 5 percent cheaper to import corn from Brazil than to transport it from the Midwest.