RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia can resume exporting chicken feet to China after a seven-year ban.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration announced Monday that the Chinese government had lifted its ban on imported Virginia poultry products.
China blocked Virginia chicken exports in 2007 after a case of pathogenic avian influenza was reported on a single farm in Virginia.
Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore says he estimates Virginia could sell $20 million a year in poultry products to China now that the ban has been lifted.
Haymore says China is a strong market for chicken parts that don't sell well domestically, like chicken feet and wing tips.
The poultry industry is the largest individual sector of Virginia's agricultural economy with farm cash receipts of $950 million a year.
In response to this announcement, Congressman Bob Goodlatte released this statement:
“China’s reversal of the ban on Virginia’s poultry products is long overdue. Since the inception of the ban in 2007, I have pressured China to reconsider this policy that has cost the Commonwealth millions of dollars in lost export opportunities and countless jobs across the industry. Agriculture is the largest industry in Virginia, with poultry ranking as the top commodity. The poultry industry employs thousands of workers in the Sixth District alone.
“American agriculture is dependent on access to global markets and a vibrant trade policy. Bans on products from individual states do very little to foster a stronger trade relationship. I hope that lifting this ban will help the Commonwealth to build additional trade opportunities for more of Virginia’s finest products.”
Virginia's U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine also commented on the announcement:
“This is great news for Virginia poultry growers,” said Warner and Kaine. “We applaud the hard work of Governor McAuliffe, the Virginia Poultry Federation and USDA APHIS to ensure that decisions about trade policy and public health are made with the best scientific data. This is long-overdue news for Virginia’s agriculture industry and the benefits will be felt across the Commonwealth’s economy.”