For the Week Ending April 8, 2011
Washington, April 8, 2011 -
TRADE VITAL TO U.S. PORK INDUSTRY, NPPC TELLS HOUSE COMMITTEE
NPPC this week testified on the importance of trade before the House Small Business Committee. NPPC witness Phillip Wise, a producer from Harris, Mo., told the panel that the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to trade agreements, losing market shares in nations that are implementing trade deals with other countries. The future of the U.S. pork industry and of America’s family hog farms depend on the continued expansion of exports, Wise said. NPPC is urging the Obama administration to send up the implementing legislation for the Colombia, Panama and South Korea free trade agreements soon and urging Congress to approve them before its August recess. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, by full implementation, those FTAs will generate more than $770 million in additional pork exports annually, causing live hog prices to increase by $11.35 and creating more than 10,200 direct pork industry jobs. Also during his testimony, Wise requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture scrap its proposed regulation on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry – the GIPSA rule – which NPPC says will raise production costs, making U.S. meat exports less competitive with other countries. An economic analysis of the rule conducted by Informa Economics estimated it would cost the pork industry nearly $400 million annually.
GOVERNMENT ‘SHUTDOWN’ COULD DISRUPT SOME USDA DEPARTMENTS
NPPC has been monitoring on-going federal budget talks and the potential shutdown of the federal government. Today it sent to top pork state lawmakers a statement about some of the effects a shutdown could have on the U.S. pork industry. If congressional Republicans and Democrats and the White House can’t agree on a continuing resolution – either short- or long-term – to fund the government, many federal functions will cease. Among them are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market News, which provides “unbiased price and sales information to assist in the orderly marketing and distribution of farm commodities.” Reports include information on prices, volume, quality, condition and other market data on farm products, including livestock. Packing and processing facilities will still need to report pricing data to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. One agency that will keep operating is USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, which must inspect meat at packing and processing plants. To read NPPC’s statement on a possible government shutdown, click here.
NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON FSIS ‘NON-AMBULATORY’ LIVESTOCK PETITION
NPPC today submitted its comments on a public petition that requests the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service to amend its ante-mortem inspection regulations to prohibit the slaughter of all non-ambulatory livestock, including swine. . Currently, federal regulations prohibit beef cattle that become non-ambulatory from entering the food supply. NPPC said that banning the slaughter of non-ambulatory hogs would not only eliminate approximately 66 million pounds of safe and wholesome pork from the food chain but would be contrary to the available scientific evidence on non-ambulatory hogs and provide no added benefit to animal welfare, human health or food safety. The organization pointed out that most hogs that become non-ambulatory are fatigued and will recover with adequate rest and that all animals destined for slaughter must be presented for ante-mortem inspection to FSIS inspectors as directed under the Federal Meat Inspection Act as well as an FSIS directive. It also cautioned that euthanizing non-ambulatory hogs would weaken the ability to detect early diseases and eliminate a method of comprehensive surveillance. Click here to read NPPC’s comments.
PORK DELEGATION TRAVELS TO SOUTH AMERICA TO DISCUSS ISSUES
NPPC board member Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Nebraska; National Pork Board Trade Committee Chairman Craig Christensen; NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano; and Dr. Ray Gamble from the National Academies of Science this week were in South America meeting with government health and trade officials in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to discuss trichinosis-related restrictions on U.S. pork imposed by those countries. In an effort to convince the countries to remove all trichinae-related restrictions, Dr. Gamble, the world’s foremost authority on trichinosis, presented his findings in a recently released report showing a “negligible risk” of trichinosis in the U.S. commercial herd. Luckey and Christensen discussed the high-level bio-security measures used on U.S. farms. Given the extremely low incidence of trichinosis in the United States and the world-class bio-security practiced by the U.S. pork industry, there is no science-based reason for Brazil, Argentina and Colombia to maintain trichinosis-related restrictions on U.S. pork. The delegation also met with each country’s Codex representative – Codex is the world body that sets food standards and guidelines – to discuss a number of issues that are developing and that will be addressed at July’s Codex Commission meeting. The primary issue discussed was the adoption of science-based standards for ractopamine – a feed additive – and how the countries could work together on outreach to other nations for adoption of the standards at the upcoming commission meeting. Also discussed were concerns about the change of terms of reference for a negative list of veterinary drugs in the Codex Committee for the Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods and the new work being proposed on trichinae and c. bovis in the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. While in South America, the group also met with pork industry groups to further understand their markets and to discuss the U.S. pork trade relationship.
NPPC TO TESTIFY ON 2012 FARM BILL
Pete Blauwiekel, a pork producer from Fowler, Mich., Saturday will testify on behalf of NPPC on the 2012 Farm Bill at a field hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Blauwiekel will urge the committee and Congress in writing the next Farm Bill to maintain, strengthen and protect the competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry. That means scrapping the proposed USDA regulation on buying and selling livestock and poultry – the GIPSA rule – addressing potential feed grain shortages, approving free trade agreements and adequately funding USDA for foreign animal disease and disease surveillance programs, which protecting livestock and, in turn, U.S. export markets.
NPPC TO HOLD LEGISLATIVE ‘FLY-IN’ FOR PORK PRODUCERS
NPPC will hold its spring Legislative Action Conference next week – April 13-14 – in Washington, D.C. The biannual “fly-in” draws from around the country more than 120 pork producers, who lobby their congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry. Also in town next week will be 13 pork producers participating in NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute and nine veterinarians participating in its Swine Veterinarians Public Policy Advocacy program. For more information, contact Gwen Bingham at (202) 347-3600.