For The Week Ending March 30, 2012
NPPC EXPLAINS OPPOSITION TO ALLOWING CANADA IN TPP NEGOTIATIONS
NPPC this week in a letter to Congress explained its opposition to Canada’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. In the letter, NPPC President R.C. Hunt explained that U.S. pork exports have been adversely affected by the Canadian government’s current hog and pork subsidy programs for Canadian producers. The subsidies are in violation of World Trade Organization rules and a U.S. countervailing duty law. According to analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, within 10 years of the implementation of Canada’s new Ontario Risk Management Program (RMP), which offers income supplementation to Canadian pork producers, U.S. pork production value could decrease by $162 million and 1,300 U.S. jobs may be eliminated. The RMP is just one of the Canadian support programs that have a substantial negative impact on U.S. pork producers. Repeal of Canada’s provincial and federal hog and pork support programs must be part of the Obama administration’s assessment of Canada’s eligibility to join the TPP negotiations, NPPC said. The organization will remain opposed to Canada’s inclusion in the TPP until the country eliminates its pork industry subsidies. Click here to read the letter.
LITTLE SAID AT HEARING ON MF GLOBAL COLLAPSE
Few answers on the loss of customer funds and the collapse of the company were provided by MF Global executives at a congressional hearing Wednesday. The futures trading firm filed for bankruptcy last fall, which is when it was revealed that more than $1.2 billion – now $1.6 billion – in customer funds were missing. MF Global Assistant Treasurer Edith O’Brien several times invoked her 5th amendment right not to incriminate herself when questioned by lawmakers on the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which held its third hearing on the firm’s collapse. Between 30 and 40 percent of all pork producers had accounts with MF Global. NPPC has said it wants the trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy to have funds returned to customers as soon as possible. To read the testimonies, click here.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARS TESTIMONY ON SWAPS LEGISLATION
The House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Wednesday held a hearing on three pieces of legislation related to swaps, a type of financial derivative, and on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The legislation is designed to lessen the unintentional outcomes of provisions of Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act. H.R. 3283, the “Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act,” would supply an unambiguous definition of “U.S. person” and “non-U.S. person” and restrict the application of Dodd-Frank to activities that happen in the United States. H.R. 1838 would amend Section 716 of Dodd-Frank to guarantee that the condition for banks to “push out” specific swap activities to split affiliates does not increase risk to the system or increase costs of risk management tools for agriculture producers. H.R. 4235, the “Swap Data Repository & Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2012,” removes the indemnification provisions from sections 728 and 763 of Dodd-Frank and ensures that domestic and foreign regulators can communicate swaps data to enhance transparency in the market and check for systemic risk. To read the testimony, click here.
U.S., MEXICO CHIEF VETETRINARIANS MEET ON ‘REGIONALIZATION’
The chief veterinarian officers of the United States and Mexico, Dr. John Clifford and Dr. Hugo Fragoso, respectively, this week met with the leadership of NPPC and the Mexican pork producers organization, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos, to discuss the status and progress of the regionalization of certain Mexican states as free of Classical Swine Fever (CSF). Efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), with the support of NPPC, have continued to make sure Mexico has the necessary animal health infrastructure and laboratory and disease management protocols to declare certain Mexican states free of CSF. NPPC supports Mexico’s efforts to export pork and pork products to the United States from regions that APHIS determines pose no risk of disease transmission. NPPC supports the principle of regionalization as a way of facilitating trade with areas free of contagious swine diseases and will continue to work with APHIS to address Mexico’s animal health concerns.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE HOLDS FARM BILL FIELD HEARING IN ARKANSAS
The House Agriculture Committee Friday held its third of four Farm Bill field hearings at Arkansas State University, State University, Ark. Ten plant and animal agriculture producers from across the Southeast testified before the committee, giving candid accounts of the operations on their farms and the government programs for farmers. Reiterating concerns from the two previous field hearings, farmers expressed their need for a valuable safety net, a variety of risk management tools and regulatory assurance. The Farm Bill field hearings, designed to provide committee members with first-hand accounts of how farm policy affects farmers and ranchers, are the second step in developing a 2012 Farm Bill. Eleven agricultural program audit hearings conducted last year to expand farmer programs, boost efficiency and decrease spending preceded the field hearings. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said there will be additional hearings in Washington, D.C. To read the testimony and watch the hearing, click here.
NPPC MEETS WITH CANADIAN, MEXICAN PORK PRODUCERS GROUPS
NPPC President R.C. Hunt, President-Elect Randy Spronk, Vice President Howard Hill, DVM, CEO Neil Dierks and Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano met this week in Charleston, S.C., with staff and board leadership from the Canadian Pork Council and the Mexican pork producers organization, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos. The producer groups discussed issues of mutual interest, including animal health, food safety, industry economics, animal care and trade.
HOUSE AG COMMITTEE TO HOLD FIELD FARM BILL HEARING IN KANSAS
The House Agriculture Committee will hold the fourth and final Farm Bill field hearing April 20 at the Magouirk Conference Center in Dodge City, Kan. For the complete lineup of witnesses, click here.
CONGRESS, CAPITAL UPDATE TAKE BREAK
Congress today begins a two-week recess, so Capital Update will not be published again until April 20.