For The Week Ending May 25, 2012
BILL TO DICTATE ON-FARM PRODUCTION PRACTICES INTRODUCED BY FEINSTEIN
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Thursday introduced the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012,” S. 3239, which seeks to codify an agreement the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came to with the United Egg Producers (UEP) to nearly double the size of space allotted to egg-laying hens. The measure, introduced the same day as the Senate Agriculture Committee’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill, is similar to legislation, H.R. 3798, introduced in the House in January by Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. The legislation is strongly opposed by NPPC, which said it would set a dangerous precedent for allowing federal bureaucrats to regulate on-farm production practices. If enacted, said NPPC, it would take away producers’ freedom to operate in ways that are best for their animals, make it difficult to respond to consumer demands, raise retail food prices and take away consumer choice and, at a time of constrained budgets for agriculture, redirect valuable resources from enhancing food safety and maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture to regulating on-farm production practices for reasons other than public and animal health. Feinstein may attempt to offer S. 3239 as an amendment to the Senate 2012 Farm Bill or to agriculture appropriations legislation. NPPC is asking its members to call their senators to urge them to oppose S. 3239.
NPPC COMMENTS ON WHOLESALE PORK CUTS REPORTING RULE
NPPC this week filed comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rule requiring meat packers to report wholesale pork cuts. It expressed support for the proposal issued by USDA, offering minor suggested changes to the regulation. NPPC worked to get the reporting provision included in the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Reauthorization in September 2008 and helped develop the proposed rule as part of a negotiated rulemaking process. The rule will require packers to report wholesale pork sales to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Regulation outlines what information packers will be required to submit to AMS, how the information should be submitted and other program requirements. Packers will be required to submit the price of each sale, quantity and other characteristics, such as the type of sale, item description and destination, that AMS will use to produce timely, meaningful market reports.
RULING ON U.S. LABELING LAW EXPECTED SOON
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body is expected to decide in late June on an appeal of a WTO ruling that the U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) violates U.S. trade obligations. In November, a WTO panel found that MCOOL, a U.S. law that requires pork and beef to be labeled with the country of origin, violates rules against technical barriers to trade. Canada and Mexico challenged the statute. If the Appellate Body upholds the panel ruling, the United States will need to comply or suffer retaliation from Canada and Mexico.
NPPC CONTINUES TO PUSH FOR MARKET ACCESS IN TPP NEGOTIATIONS
The 12th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement concluded last week, with little progress made on agricultural access issues. TPP is a regional trade pact that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Gaining more market access for U.S. pork in the TPP countries is NPPC’s top priority in the trade talks. Vietnam offers the most potential for expanding U.S. pork and other U.S. food and agriculture exports. But those exports currently are limited by tariff and non-tariff barriers in the Southeast Asian nation.
FOOD SUMMIT LOOKS AT FEEDING A GROWING WORLD POPULATION
The Atlantic magazine Thursday hosted its third annual Food Summit in Washington, D.C. Chris Novak, CEO of the National Pork Board, participated in the conversation on food production, consumption and regulation, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). NPPC is a member of USFRA. Novak was on a panel discussing “Feeding a World at Nine Billion—Sustainably.” He stressed the importance of research and technology to the agriculture sector for feeding a rapidly increasing population and hailed the U.S. pork industry as “a tremendous success story” with farmers’ ability to produce more food on less land. To learn more about the event, click here.
USFRA TO HOST ANTIBIOTICS WEB CHAT
The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), to which NPPC belongs, May 29 will host a Web chat on antibiotic use in food animals. Streamed live from 11 a.m. to noon Central time, the Web chat will include two third-party experts who will share their expertise on and address common misperceptions and answer questions about antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production. For more information about USFRA, click here.