For The Week Ending June 15, 2012
Watch the new NPPC video against the HSUS Egg Bill, then call the Senate Agriculture Committee and tell them not to support it. To view the “Beat the HSUS Egg Bill” video, click here.
WORLD PORK EXPO HELD IN DES MOINES
More than 20,000 pork producers from around the world attended the 2012 World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. A variety of educational seminars were held, focusing on relevant pork industry issues, including market outlooks, herd health, nutrition, Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome as well as public relations. Pork Quality Assurance Plus and Transport Quality Assurance training were also completed by pork producers. Youth with more than 2,600 pigs participated in Junior National judging contests. More than 450 companies were represented at the trade show, comprising a total of 900 exhibit booths. Click here for more WPX information.
FARM BILL DEBATE CONTINUES IN SENATE
The full U.S. Senate this week continued their consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill, officially referred to as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., are still trying to determine how to handle more than 200 amendments that have been filed. The Senate is working over the weekend to determine a finite number of amendments. If the Senate fails to come to an agreement, the likelihood that the Farm Bill will pass grows slimmer. Examples of amendments that have been filed that NPPC opposes are amendment #2170 related to banning packer ownership of livestock and amendment #2252, the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012”. The Packer Ban bill S. 2141, introduced by Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., seeks to ban packer ownership of livestock and allows Congress dictate or eliminate certain types of contracting mechanisms. This ban would force the livestock industry to revert to business model used more than half a century ago. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has 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 legislation is strongly opposed by NPPC, which said it would set a dangerous precedent for allowing federal bureaucrats to regulate on-farm production practices. Feinstein has filed the Egg Bill as an amendment (#2252) to the Senate 2012 Farm Bill. NPPC is asking its members to call their Senators to urge them to oppose the Egg Bill. NPPC also urges Senators to vote against amendments that seek to end all commodity checkoff programs and defund foreign market development (FMD) and market access programs (MAP). FMD and MAP provide great benefit to U.S. pork producers, promoting U.S. pork overseas. Debate on the Farm Bill will continue in the Senate next week.
NPPC SUBMITS EMISSIONS COMMENTS TO EPA
NPPC Monday submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its Draft Document Related to the Development of Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEM) for Lagoons and Basins for Swine and Dairy Feeding Operations. This EEM was the first attempt by EPA to begin developing the tool required under the Air Consent Agreements for producers to use to estimate emissions from their farms. It was only limited to open source emissions, from lagoons and basins, and did not cover barn or deep pit emissions. NPPC’s comments urged EPA to redraft their document, and significantly alter the agency’s approach to its development of an open source EEM. NPPC has deep concerns over EPA’s failure to understand the basic difference between anaerobic lagoons and manure storage basins, as well as the impracticality of creating a single model for swine and dairy due to the differences between the species. NPPC also stressed the need for EPA to focus on developing a tool, as required under the Air Consent Agreement, that individual farmers could use. NPPC once again repeated its offer to work closely with EPA and the administration on providing the expertise and basic data and knowledge of livestock production to make the tool work. In addition to the comments EPA expects to receive from the public, the Agency is also awaiting a report from its Scientific Advisory Board on the adequacy of the draft EEM before moving forward. That report is expected to be released in late summer. Click here to read NPPC’s comments.
AG GROUPS ADVOCATE FOR USE OF SCIENCE IN ANTIBIOTIC REGULATION
A coalition of 11 agricultural groups Tuesday sent a letter to Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., highlighting the strict federal approval procedure and rule of antibiotics, the lack of human health danger from their judicious use and the advantages that antibiotics present in livestock production. Rep. Slaughter in February demanded food companies divulge their purchase policies in regard to antibiotic use in livestock. Slaughter is the author of H.R. 965 “Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act”, which aims to ban the use of several important categories of antibiotics used for preventing and managing diseases and for promoting nutritional efficiency in livestock. NPPC is a member of the coalition that also includes: the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, Animal Health Institute, American Veterinary Medical Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Meat Association and the National Turkey Federation. Click here to read the full letter.
NPPC MEETS WITH CANADIAN OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS SUBSIDIES
NPPC Past President Doug Wolf and Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano met this week with Canadian federal and provincial government officials to ask that Canada end its hog subsidy programs before entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks. Wolf says that the Canadian subsidy programs distort the North American hog and pork market and limit the growth of U.S. production, employment and profitability. Analysis of one of the subsidy programs, Quebec’s ASRA program, found that if the program is eliminated and assuming the current distribution of North American pork production, the U.S. pork industry would increase by 3.4 million hogs, valued at $576.9 million, and add approximately 4,611 jobs over 10 years, according to Iowa State economist Dermot Hayes. 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 will remain opposed to Canada’s inclusion in the TPP until the country eliminates its pork industry subsidies. Click here to read more.
NPPC AT WORLD MEAT CONGRESS
Last week, NPPC attended the 19th World Meat Congress in Paris, France. NPPC participated in meetings on global challenges and opportunities for the meat industry and hosted a meeting for the Pork Exporters Group. One of the primary topics of focus was the European Union’s ban on sow stalls, due to take effect January 1, 2013. European producers voiced concerns about declining production due to the sow stall ban. According to a report by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), the EU’s partial ban on sow stalls will result in a 5-10 percent decline in pig production.
U.S. PORK RESTRICTED BY UNSCIENTIFIC PRRS-RELATED REQUIREMENTS
South Africa recently notified the World Trade Organization that it is imposing additional requirements on pork from countries with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), including the United States. Only two other countries – Australia and New Zealand – restrict market access for U.S. pork based on unscientific concerns for the transmission of PRRS. PRRS is not a food safety issue and does not pose a risk to human health. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) does not include the trading of pig meat as a risk of spreading PRRS. The OIE emphasizes the main risk of spreading PRRS is through trade in live animals and semen and does not list measures to control pork trade in their recommendations on prevention and control of the disease. The legal importation of fresh, chilled and frozen pork from PRRS-endemic countries has never resulted in any outbreak of PRRS in countries that are known to be PRRS-free. NPPC will be advocating for South Africa to reconsider their proposed requirements and not move forward with implementation of this unscientific barrier to trade. New Zealand and Australia should remove all PRRS-related restrictions for full and open access for U.S. pork and pork products as a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. NPPC will continue to advocate for access for U.S. pork products into New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and any country that erects unscientific barriers to trade for U.S. pork producers.
NPPC URGES SCIENCE-BASED INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR TRICHINAE
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has established a work group to revise the current OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code Chapter on Trichinellosis. The work group met last year, but was unable to develop a final draft document and is developing a new draft standard that is expected to be adopted at the OIE General Session in May 2013. The OIE work group is largely composed of delegates from the European Union and EU-based organizations and has very few trichinae experts. The EU is attempting to codify their national legislation in international standards, including wildlife testing, the use of historical testing as the primary means of determining current risk status and other unscientific-based prescriptive requirements which most countries could never achieve. According to USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service, there is a negligible risk of trichinae in U.S. commercial pork, and it does not present a risk to public health. Dr. Ray Gamble, president of the International Commission on Trichinellosis, found that the odds of trichinae in the U.S. commercial pork supply are 1-in-300 million. As a result of the work group, NPPC expects the OIE to develop a science and outcomes-based set of international standards.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TO MARK UP AG SPENDING BILL
The House Appropriations Full Committee next Tuesday will mark up the FY 2013 Agriculture and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Bills. Click here to watch and/or listen to the mark up.
FARM BILL DEBATE TO CONTINUE
The full Senate will continue to debate the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 next week. Catch the debates on C-SPAN channels.