Is There a Future for American Emu Farmers?

Guest Post by Ngon Nguyen, Owner Amaroo Hills Farm, Ashland City, TN

With the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, there may be a glimmer of hope in the future of emu farming in the United States. As many of us know, the majority of the emu oil that is floating around in this industry is coming from overseas such as China and India. We have also recently seen large volumes of emu meat being imported into this country. The new Trump administration has promised to make trade fairer for American businesses so that we can compete in global trade. As of last summer, the World Trade Organization declared that India could no longer impose a ban on U. S. poultry imports. In response the government of India has issued a 100% tariff on American poultry. Despite this unfair tariff, American chicken can now be imported into India and still compete with the local growers. President Trump also stated that he will impose tariffs on overseas imports where US businesses are unfairly disadvantage. Will there be a tariff coming on emu imports from overseas in the future? an emu farms have been disappearing and the ones that are left are struggling. High refinery costs as well as cheap and possibly fake imported oil in the market has hurt domestic farms’ ability to compete.

Imports of emu products into the USA since 2016

(source: www.usimportdata.com)
As an American farmer, I am hopeful that emu farmers in this country can compete with the influx of emu products from these countries. The U.S. is the largest producer and exporter of corn in the world.
(source: www.indexmundi.com)


The U.S. is also the 2nd largest producer of soy bean in the world next to Brazil. Since American farmers are very efficient and productive in their production of corn, soy, and other commodities needed for emu feed, I believe that our input costs should allow us to compete with overseas producers. So why can’t we compete in the production of emus? Here are some of the areas which I believe will allow the U.S. emu farm industry to grow:

More competition for refining emu oil. Farmers need to be able to get their oil products to market at reasonable costs.

Use less labor, more automation - We need to move away from labor intensive farming by investing in automation. Water and feeding systems can be set up in such a way that very little labor is involved on a day to day basis. Larger farms or co-ops can buy bulk feed which can drastically reduce feed costs.

Quality Control – Meat cuts, oil quality, farming standards need to adhere to best practices. Everything about quality impacts the marketing of the products to consumers. Make the AEA a truly pro-American organization. As a US emu farmer who raises over one thousand birds a year, I do not agree with allowing overseas oil to bear the AEA certification. This is misleading and confusing to the consumer. Also, this does not allow the American farmers to differentiate their products from oil sourced from China or India. We work way too hard to grow our farms and to develop our markets. Why should our products be lumped in together with overseas imported products under the AEA label?

The trend in America is to now buy local—that’s what the customers want. There are too many problems with buying overseas agricultural products. Buying domestic products is safer, fresher, and it contributes to our local communities here in the USA. I want to be part of an organization that puts the American farms first.

These are some of my thoughts. As a proud American, I fully believe in the American farmers. This is the best country in the world. We have the largest emu oil market also. We need to compete and take back our market.

  Ngon Nguyen, TN