The company secured an export licence, making it the first Texan business eligible to ship beef to China, which spent $2.5bn importing cattle meat last year.
With first orders from China expected in the autumn, Kane Beef is looking for new entry-level staff for slaughter, deboning and trim work at its Corpus Christi, Texas, slaughterhouse. It is unclear how many jobs the firm hopes to create, however.
The business is a modest meat exporter already and ships boxed beef to more than 25 countries, which accounts for a fifth of its turnover. Two years ago, South American firm Fernandez Group acquired Kane Beef, a move that has enhanced capabilities and boosted production thanks to the parent company’s focus on processing efficiency.
China a ‘significant opportunity’ for Texan firm
Greater operational efficiency has given Kane Beef more impetus to push for international sales and, with China now in the mix, the company is hopeful it can continue to grow globally.
“Our team is steadily increasing our global footprint, and we are eager to start supplying our dependable beef products to customers in China,” said Andy Davis, vice-president of international sales at Kane Beef.
“Thanks to the authorisation, we now have greater opportunities in the region to build relationships that will support Texas agriculture.”
Per capita beef demand is growing in China and the US Department of Agriculture expect a steady increase over the next decade. Kane Beef has confirmed it has already received “multiple enquiries” from Chinese buyers keen to snap up US beef after a 14-year trade ban.
“Regaining access into this growing market and being able to meet consumer demand with our high-quality beef sourced from Texas producers is a significant opportunity,” added Davis.
China lifts ban on US beef
Earlier this year, China lifted a 14-year trade ban on imports of US beef that had been in place after an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - colloquially known as mad cow's disease - in 2003. The agreement is expected to provide a major boost to US beef exporters and generate millions of dollars for the economy.