How Brexit Could Impact Idaho’s Cattle Industry

Jul 6, 2016

After the United Kingdom voted last month to leave the European Union, the decision hammered world markets. The British pound fell to a 30-year low after the vote. The euro also faltered while the U.S. dollar strengthened. Having a higher valued dollar is not all bad, of course – especially if your summer includes European adventure plans and you want to save some cash on vacation.

But for Idaho cattle ranchers, Brexit brings some uncertainty – a word no industry likes. Britany Hurst of the Idaho Cattle Association says the change in exchange rates could mean the U.K. will turn to cheaper beef in other countries.  

“We can anticipate that a lot of the beef European countries will import will come from Australia rather than the United States," says Hurst. "We’re not really sure how it will affect our trade with Japan – they might also turn to Australia just because now the dollar is so much stronger.”

Hurst says the cattle association was in the middle of negotiating a new trade deal with the E.U., and the U.K. played a big part in those talks. She says last month's vote means that deal now goes back to the drawing board, and they will have to play the "wait and see" game until then.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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