For the Week Ending Jan. 20, 2012
Contact: Dave Warner 202-347-3600
Washington, January 20, 2012 -
NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON EPA’S CAFO RULE
NPPC, along with nearly 90 agricultural organizations, filed two sets of comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday on the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule. The first set was signed by a coalition of 88 national, state and local agricultural groups. The second set, submitted on behalf of NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation, directly addressed the various legal concerns the organizations have with the rule and the challenges the rule will prompt if and when it is finalized. EPA’s proposed rule would require large livestock and poultry facilities to submit to EPA substantial confidential farm and business information. The CAFO database rule is designed to provide a clearinghouse for activists on the location of farms and was the product of a sweetheart settlement between the Obama administration and anti-animal agriculture activist groups. NPPC voiced 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 December, NPPC Vice President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss the pork industry’s concerns with the proposed rule.
PRESIDENT OBAMA OUTLINES PLAN TO REORGANIZE TRADE AGENCIES
President Obama Jan. 13 outlined a plan to consolidate six federal government agencies and departments that focus on business and trade. The president proposed consolidating the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Department Commerce’s core business and trade functions into a single cabinet-level department focused on trade and expanding market opportunities for U.S. businesses. Notably, the plan would eliminate USTR as a separate agency under the Executive Office of the President. USTR negotiates, enforces and administers the U.S. trade agreements program, as well as coordinates with different entities within the federal government, such as the Department of Agriculture, that have specialized roles in trade. NPPC is opposed to eliminating USTR as a separate, cabinet level agency.
U.S. PORK EXPORTS ON TRACK TO REACH $6 BILLION FOR 2011
Export data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for November show that U.S. pork exports are on track to reach a record $6 billion for 2011. November also was a record month for exports with 217,000 metric tons (MT), valued at $598 million, exported globally. The 2011 estimated export value per pig rose 25 percent over 2010 to $55 per pig. In the first 11 months of 2011, the United States has exported 2,039,579 MT valued at $5.5 billion. Year-to-date volume exports have almost exceeded the record set in 2008 of 2,052,314 MT. These record numbers have been driven by strong demand in China, South Korea, Japan and Canada.
USDA APPROVES BRAZILIAN PORK FOR EXPORT TO U.S.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lifted the prohibition on Brazilian pork imports following 18 months of discussions over sanitary standards. USDA agreed to recognize Brazilian inspectors as capable of approving slaughterhouses in the state of Santa Catarina; so far, USDA has authorized six processing plants to export pork to the United States. In 2010, USDA recognized Santa Catarina as free of foot-and-mouth disease, clearing the way for processing plant approval. NPPC supports the principle of regionalization and does not object to the recognition of Santa Catarina as being free of foot and mouth disease and other swine diseases such as Classical Swine Fever. However, NPPC believes it is extremely important that the United States’ trade relationship with Brazil be a reciprocal one and that, like the United States, Brazil maintains sanitary and phytosanitary policies that are based on sound science and legitimate health-related concerns. NPPC continues to be concerned with and frustrated by Brazil’s unjustifiable trichinosis-related import restrictions on U.S. pork. Given the extremely low incidence of trichinosis – 1-in-300 million – in the United States and the very high level of biosecurity practiced by the U.S. pork industry, there is no legitimate science-based reason for this import restriction. The Brazilian pork industry is significantly smaller than the U.S. pork industry, and the United States on average is a lower cost pork producer. Consequently, high import levels of pork are not expected from Brazil, which in 2010 exported almost 660,000 metric tons of pork valued at $1.65 billion.
MINNESOTA, USDA, EPA SIGN CONSERVATION AGREEMENT
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced that USDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EPA and the state of Minnesota to build a new state program for producers intended to increase voluntary conservation practices. Under the agreement, producers who employ extensive conservation measures to reduce nutrient run-off and erosion will be guaranteed by the state of Minnesota that their farms will meet the state’s water-quality standards and goals. The signing of the agreement is the initial step in establishing the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. NPPC is carefully monitoring and researching the potential impacts of the agreement and will keep members updated on developments. To read USDA’s press release about the agreement, click here.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN ANIMAL FEED TASK FORCE CODEX MEETING
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom Wednesday attended a public meeting of the U.S. Delegation to the Codex ad hoc intergovernmental task force on animal feeding. The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization to develop internationally adopted food standards, guidelines and codes of practice. The task force’s role is to develop science-based guidelines or standards for “governments on how to apply the existing Codex risk assessment methodologies to the various types of hazards related to contaminants/residues in feed ingredients, including feed additives used in feeding stuffs for food producing animals” and to compile “a prioritized list of hazards in feed ingredients and feed additives for governmental use.” NPPC has been working as part of an industry coalition to develop comments to the proposed standard for animal feeding.
HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE REVIEWS IMPACT OF VOLCKER RULE
Subcommittees of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee Wednesday held a hearing to review the possible impact of the Volcker Rule, a provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that forbids banks from investing in hedge funds and private equity funds. Titled “Examining the Impact of the Volcker Rule on Markets, Businesses, Investors and Job Creation,” the joint hearing was held by the Financial Services’ subcommittees on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. To read testimonies, click here.
SENATE RETURNS NEXT WEEK
The Senate will return to work Monday, Jan. 23.
HOUSE AG COMMITTEE TO MARKUP DODD-FRANK ACT
The House Agriculture Committee Wednesday will hold a full committee meeting to markup multiple bills, including:H.R. 1840, titled “To improve consideration by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of the costs and benefits of its regulations and orders”; H.R. 2682, titled “Business Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2011”; and H.R. 2779, titled “To exempt inter-affiliate swaps from certain regulatory requirements put in place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”.