For the Week Ending Dec. 16, 2011
Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600
Washington, December 16, 2011 -
NPPC VICE PRESIDENT MEETS WITH USDA, EPA CHIEFS
NPPC Vice President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., Wednesday met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss issues of concern to the U.S. pork industry. Among those were the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule related to the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS). The NAEMS study of emissions from livestock and poultry farms was conducted by Purdue University researchers with EPA oversight. EPA intends to hold a series of meetings to explore how the agency will interpret the data and the methodological approach it will utilize as it converts the data into useable emission factors to help producers determine their compliance with federal clean air laws. EPA’s proposed CAFO Reporting Rule would require large livestock and poultry facilities to submit to EPA operational information. NPPC raised concerns that producers will incur substantial legal liability and that in compiling the information the bio-security of producers’ operations may be compromised. Furthermore, NPPC believes the rule would provide little or no added benefit to improving manure management or protecting water. In a related matter, EPA granted a 30-day extension — until Jan. 19, 2012 — to the comment period on the reporting rule. NPPC had requested a 60-day extension to the original Dec. 20 deadline for filing comments. For more information about the proposal, click here.
FORMER MF GLOBAL CEO PROVIDES LITTLE INFORMATION ON MISSING CUSTOMER FUNDS
Much as he did during last week’s House Agriculture Committee hearing on MF Global’s bankruptcy, former company CEO Jon Corzine supplied little information about missing customer funds to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which Tuesday held its second hearing to examine the collapse of the clearing broker. Corzine’s former Senate colleagues grew irate as he repeatedly emphasized that he did not intend to approve misuse of customer money and that he requires more time to access the proper documents to know what took place and when. The hearing took a surprising turn when Terrence Duffy, executive chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group, stated that he has information that suggests Corzine, who formerly was governor of New Jersey, had knowledge of a portion of the missing funds. MF Global filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late October, the eighth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, with approximately $1.2 billion in customer money, which had been held in segregated accounts, allegedly commingled with the firm’s own money in violation of Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules. To watch the hearing and read testimony from the Senate hearing, click here. In a related matter, Corzine also testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations concerning the collapse of MF Global. To watch the hearing and read testimony from the House hearing, click here. NPPC is closely monitoring the MF Global hearings and will provide updates to producers as needed.
RUSSIAN SPS BARRIERS UNRESOLVED AS IT MOVES TOWARD WTO MEMBERSHIP
After 18 years, Russia moved closer to full membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week when a WTO Working Party report was approved at the trade organization’s ministerial meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Russia is the world’s largest economy that is not a member of the WTO, as well as a potentially large market for U.S. pork products. Although Russia was a top export market for U.S. pork in 2010, worth more than $204 million, U.S. pork sales have fallen nearly 60 percent since 2008. The decline is due largely to a number unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions. NPPC is working closely with the Obama administration to remedy the SPS problems before Congress determines whether to extend Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to Russia.
HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TRADE HOLDS HEARING ON TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP
The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade held a hearing this week on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Asia-Pacific trade agreement that currently includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Jim McDermott, D-Wash., welcomed the recently expressed interest by Japan, Mexico and Canada in joining the negotiations but emphasized that all partner countries must commit to a comprehensive agreement. Adding Japan to the TPP would make it the most important trade agreement ever negotiated for U.S. pork producers as well as for U.S. agriculture. Japan is a particularly important market for the U.S. pork industry with U.S. pork exports to Japan in 2010 amounting to 435,000 metric tons, worth more than $1.6 billion, making that country the No. 1 value and No. 2 volume market for U.S. pork. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis testified that negotiators are working to strengthen a sanitary-phytosanitary agreement in the trade pact by increasing transparency and guaranteeing that food safety risk analyses are grounded in science. For the U.S. pork industry, significant benefits from the TPP will come from the removal of sanitary and technical barriers to trade that some TPP countries have in place. For more information about the hearing and to read testimony, click here.
NPPC HOLDS FARM BILL TASK FORCE MEETING
NPPC’s Farm Bill Policy Task Force met this week in Kansas City, Mo., to discuss the prospects and policies of the next Farm Bill. Task force members continued the process of refining recommendations for the five-year agricultural blue print, which the chairmen of the Senate and House agriculture committees are determined to write in 2012.
TASK FORCE DISCUSSES NEXT STEPS ON ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION
The Swine Identification Task Force Wednesday met in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss next steps on animal identification. The taskforce, formed in December 2005, includes pork producers, packers, swine veterinarians and breed registries. Among the topics up for discussion were the Pink Tag program for sows and gilts and the most effective methods to acquire industry-wide adoption of the tags in breeding animals.
CAPITAL UPDATE RETURNS IN 2012
With Congress set to adjourn for the year early next week — not to return until Jan. 17, 2012 — the next edition ofCapital Update will be issued Jan. 20. In the meantime, from the staff of NPPC, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a healthy and propserous New Year.