Perdue Farms CEO Randy Day says he is not presently worried about the trade situation between the U.S. and China.
Perdue Farms might be better known for its chicken and turkey products, but it is also involved in pork production with the Coleman Natural and Niman Ranch brands. Despite the fact that U.S. pork products being exported to China are being subjected to new 25 percent tariffs, effective April 1.
“We believe in free and fair trade, but the reality is we don’t know how this is going to turn out,” Day said on CNBC’s Closing Bell. “We’re not overly concerned yet. We need to wait and see how it plays [out].”
Perdue’s presence in the U.S. pork industry is relatively small, Day added, with one operation in Iowa. Its pork products are viewed as higher-end, premium products.
Perdue Farms announced its intent to buy the Niman Ranch brand from LNK Partners, a private equity firm, in September 2015. “This represents the next chapter in our growth through premium proteins and trusted brands,” Perdue Farms Chairman Jim Perdue said at the time. “The Niman Ranch brand continues our commitment to raising animals without antibiotics or artificial growth stimulants, and to responsible food and agriculture.”
To date, China has not announced any tariffs on U.S. poultry imports. However, the China market is presently closed to U.S. poultry and egg exports due to an ongoing avian influenza ban imposed in 2015.
Perdue Farms, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the fourth largest broiler company in the United States, having processed 62.86 million pounds of ready-to-cook poultry on a weekly basis in 2017. It is also the seventh largest turkey company in the United States. In 2017, Perdue Farms processed 284 million pounds of live turkeys, a slight increase from its 2016 production figures.
Day, an employee of Perdue Farms since 1991, was promoted to the CEO position in March 2017. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer, having been appointed to that position in May 2016.