“Reports this week about the purchase of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. by the Brazilian beef and pork conglomerate JBS will have an impact on the U.S. poultry industry. If the sale is approved by the U.S. government, it appears to be a great opportunity for both companies,” said Jim Sumner, President USAPEEC, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council.

“Pilgrim’s Pride is the second-leading poultry processor in the U.S. While it is currently undergoing bankruptcy reorganization, the company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of 2009. Pilgrim’s Pride plays a very important role in our industry and in our organization. Its acquisition by JBS would no doubt be welcomed by the independent family farmers who grow chickens under contract for Pilgrim’s Pride.”

Sumner reiterated that, “The company is under new, dynamic leadership and was reportedly expected to emerge from bankruptcy in a much stronger position than before.”

The U.S. and Brazil are the two top poultry exporting countries in the world, always in a very close race for export leadership. In recent years, Brazil has held the edge. This, 2009, has proved to be a challenging year for exports, especially at the beginning. Things have gotten better in recent months in volume, although not in value.

According to the USDA, cumulative U.S. broiler meat exports for the first seven months of 2009 reached 1,800,907 tons, which is a record and represents a slight gain of just less than 1% over 2008. Export value totaled $1.909 billion, down 2.4% year on year.

Brazil’s cumulative totals from January through August show 2,425,600 tons of broiler meat exports, compared to 2,504,200 tons in 2008, according to ABEF, the Brazilian Poultry Producers and Exporters Association.

Addressing the issue of U.S.-Brazilian export competition, Sumner commented, “In fact, I was in Brazil recently where I met with poultry industry leaders to discuss the possibility that our two industries should work more closely together for our mutual benefit. Perhaps the sale of Pilgrim’s Pride will help make that a reality.”

Read the JBS/Pilgrim's news story with commentary from Paul Aho.

Read the original buyout announcement.