For The Week Ending July 13, 2012
EPA WITHDRAWS FARM REPORTING RULE
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today withdrew its proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule. The proposed rule sought to have CAFOs submit to the agency operational information so the agency could “more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting program and ensure that CAFO are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.” The rule was prompted by a sweetheart settlement agreement EPA entered with the National Resources Defense Council, Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club as part of a lawsuit NPPC brought and ultimately won over EPA’s 2008 CAFO rule. Click here to read more.
NPPC RESPONDS TO HSUS SCARE TACTIC
NPPC this week charged that filings by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) of notices of intent (NOIs) to sue a number of hog farmers over alleged violations of a federal environmental law were another scare tactic to get the producer-run national organization to back off its opposition to the HSUS “Egg Bill” and to the animal-rights group’s “truth-twisting” campaign against family farmers who choose individual sow housing over alternate systems. (In April, HSUS threatened NPPC with a meritless Federal Trade Commission complaint.) The NOIs filed by HSUS allege that 51 hog operations in three states failed to submit paperwork on emissions, which were required of certain sized operations under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule. In its statement, NPPC pointed out that EPA is still evaluating air emissions data gathered from livestock and poultry operations to develop a better understanding of emissions rates, which vary considerably from farm to farm. It also noted that HSUS is not alleging environmental harm but paperwork violations. Additionally, said NPPC, when the reporting rule went into effect in 2009 there was widespread confusion about it, with some states refusing to accept reports, one state claiming EPA notices to report emissions were an Internet hoax and EPA’s Region 4 office initially telling producers and states there was no reporting requirement.
CODEX COMMISSION APPROVES STANDARD FOR RACTOPAMINE
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and coordinate international food standards, last week adopted a science-based standard for ractopamine, a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef. NPPC strongly supported the action by Codex, which is also the World Trade Organization’s reference body for food safety, noting that the U.N. body upheld its mandate to adhere to process and adopt science-based standards. The adoption of the standard had been stalled for four years because of unscientific concerns by several countries, primarily members of the European Union, which refused to conduct a risk assessment on the compound. Ractopamine was evaluated and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and has been approved for use in 26 countries. A Codex panel of independent international scientists, including scientists from the European Union, has confirmed the safety of ractopamine three times. NPPC staff attended the meeting as part of the U.S. delegation. NPPC views the adoption of maximum residue levels for ractopamine as a path forward to engage with trading partners that have food-safety concerns related to science and to encourage those that have erected unscientific barriers to remove them based on yet another scientific based decision reaffirming the safety of the compound. Click here to read more.
NPPC APPEALS PROPOSED NEW FIRE STANDARD FOR ANIMAL HOUSING
NPPC this week filed on behalf of a large coalition of livestock organizations an appeal to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) over its amendment to fire standards for animal housing facilities, which are incorporated by reference into state building codes and insurance policy terms. The amended NFPA 150 Standard would require the instillation of sprinklers and smoke control systems in all animal housing facilities, including livestock barns, together with quarterly inspections of sprinkler systems and is estimated to cost many tens of billions of dollars for producers nationwide. The appeal admonishes NFPA’s process for failing to provide an adequate opportunity for stakeholder participation, the standard’s overbroad and impractical nature and the health and biosecurity issues that likely would arise because of the standard’s inspection requirement. NPPC environment counsel Michael Formica will argue the appeal during the NPFA Standards Council meeting Aug. 7-9.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE MARKS UP FARM BILL
The House Agriculture Committee Thursday completed its marathon mark up session of its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, officially referred to as H.R. 6083, the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM).” The bill passed by a vote of 35-11. Added to the bill were amendments supported by NPPC that would:
- Repeal certain Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules.
- Require USDA to tell Congress 90 days after enactment what actions it will take to modify the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) law to comply with a recent World Trade Organization decision that found MCOOL in violation of international trade laws.
- Establish an Undersecretary for Foreign Agriculture Services.
An amendment allowing Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds to be used for ethanol blender pumps was withdrawn. The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30, but there are only 13 legislative days left before Congress takes a month-long recess and few days after the break before lawmakers leave Washington to campaign for re-election. It is uncertain when the full U.S. House will consider the bill. Click here to read more.
NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON VETERINARY FEED DIRECTIVE
NPPC submitted comments this week in response to a Federal Register notice requesting input on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), Draft Text for Proposed Regulation. The VFD is currently FDA’s only regulatory mechanism to demonstrate veterinary oversight of antimicrobials delivered in feed. Applying the current VFD structure to a broader range of products for multiple species, said NPPC in its comments, could result in unnecessary complexity and consequently cause difficulties for farmers, veterinarians and feed mills that could potentially affect animal health. Click here to read NPPC’s comments.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN TPP NEGOTIATIONS
The 13th round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement concluded Tuesday in San Diego, Calif., with progress made toward the conclusion of the more than 20 chapters under negotiation. NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano traveled to San Diego and met with U.S. officials and officials from other member nations. TPP is a regional trade pact that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The TPP negotiations represent the best opportunity for the U.S. pork industry to remove sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) barriers to trade and eliminate import duties in the countries involved in the negotiations. Vietnam offers the most potential for expanding U.S. pork exports. In June, Mexico and Canada were invited to join the TPP negotiations but will not formally join negotiations until December.
NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON FDA’S DRAFT GUIDANCE ON ANTIBIOTICS
NPPC submitted comments this week in response to a Federal Register notice requesting input on the FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry 213. Implementation of the guidance has far-reaching implications for pork producers, NPPC said in its comments, both in the ways antimicrobials can be used and with regard to access to antimicrobials. The loss of production uses of antimicrobials as well as the transition away from over-the-counter availability of antimicrobials for feed and water administration will present challenges to pork producers, especially small producers and those in remote areas. Click here to read NPPC’s comments.
U.S., AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND PRODUCERS CONCERNED ABOUT CANADIAN SUBSIDIES
Pork producers in the United States, New Zealand and Australia are uneasy over the recent decision to include Canada in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations because of Canada’s open agricultural subsidy schemes, particularly its programs for Canadian pork production. NPPC is urging Canada to end its federal and provincial hog subsidy programs, which are distorting the North American and world pork markets. NPPC believes subsidy programs are antithetical to free trade and to the spirit of the TPP negotiations that Canada is entering. Australian, New Zealand and U.S. pork producers pointed out that the Canadian government’s actions are counterproductive to the goals of TPP, and their respective pork organizations are forming a united voice to strongly urge national trade representatives involved in the TPP negotiations to address the detrimental Canadian subsidy programs. Click here to read more.
SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE TO HOLD DODD-FRANK ACT HEARING
The Senate Agriculture Committee next Tuesday will hold a hearing on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” Click here for a list of witnesses.
For questions, comments and suggestions or to unsubscribe, contact: Dave Warner, Director of Communications, NPPC, at 202-347-3600. To read previous issues of Capital Update, visit NPPC’s Web site at www.nppc.org.