Pet Food Industry Vital Part of Kansas Economy

December 12, 2019

Originally Published by The Emporia Gazette

The pet food industry is — simply — HUGE for Kansas.

Pet food manufacturers are popping up all over, what is now being dubbed, “the Animal Health Corridor,” which stretches from Manhattan to Columbia, Missouri, and Emporia to Omaha, Nebraska. This booming production in the greater-Kansas region now accounts for more than half of all pet industry sales in the U.S. and provides thousands of jobs to Kansans.

As companion animal products gain a larger foothold in the overall animal food market, it’s vital we continue to do all we can to capitalize on that growth and encourage the development of the pet food industry to not only benefit our farmers, but all Kansans.

Over two-thirds of American households own a pet, and each household spends an average of $300 annually on pet food and treats, accounting for more than $5.8 billion in sales in 2018 — that’s more than cattle, swine, poultry and horses combined.

Feeding and caring for household pets is big business, and has major growth potential for the Kansas economy.

We scored a large victory with a new trade deal with Japan — the U.S.’s number two importer of pet food — which was signed by President Trump earlier this year and will go into effect by Jan. 1, 2020.

The American pet food industry is poised to gain from the passage of the USMCA trade deal. The vast majority of pet foods exported from the U.S. go to Canada and Mexico, numbers 1 and 3 respectively, and USMCA will benefit U.S. pet food makers and ingredient suppliers by ensuring continued transparency in regulation, predictability and tariff-free trade with these countries.

That trade deal has currently sat on Speaker Pelosi’s desk for nearly a year.

Emporia is the self-declared Pet Nutrition Capital of the World and home to three major animal health companies — Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Cargill Animal Nutrition and Simmons Pet Food. From one company and 41 employees in 1994, this community now provides more than 1,000 jobs directly related to the pet food industry.

As the Trump administration opens up new markets and the global pet food industry continues to grow, Kansas is poised to gain in a big way. Some of the most successful and innovative pet food companies in the world are here in Kansas, incorporating our agriculture products in their pet food supply.

There’s a direct link between the pet food industry and the Kansas economy, and I will continue to work to expand the opportunities for the industry both domestically and internationally — starting with the USMCA Trade agreement.


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