For The Week Ending Sept. 14, 2012
RFS WAIVER COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED; NPPC URGES COMMENTS
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week extended until Oct 11 the deadline for filing comments on requests that it waive the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which requires a certain amount of corn ethanol to be blended into gasoline annually. With drought conditions in most of the Corn Belt their worst in more than 50 years and corn yields expected to drop significantly, NPPC, a number of other livestock and poultry groups, eight governors and 34 Senate and 156 House members have asked EPA to waive the federal mandate for the production of corn ethanol. NPPC is urging pork industry representatives to submit comments. To comment as a producer, click here. To comment as an employee, click here. To comment as an allied industry member, click here.
NPPC HOSTS SUCCESSFUL FALL LEGISLATIVE ACTION CONFERENCE
Pork producers from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., September 12-13 to attend NPPC’s biannual Legislative Action Conference. While there, producers met with members of Congress to discuss issues of importance to the pork industry, including the 2012 Farm Bill, a waiver of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard and trade matters. NPPC staff presented pork producers with updates on legislative issues. Producers and Capitol Hill staff also attended NPPC’s Capitol Hill-famous “Rack of Pork” congressional reception.
NPPC GRASSROOTS PROGRAMS HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
A varied group of 18 individuals in the pork industry participated in the first of three sessions of NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute (PLI) Sept. 11-12 in Washington, D.C. The program provides producers with information about the pork industry’s legislative issues and teaches them how to interact with their lawmakers. Also in town were 12 swine veterinarians participating in NPPC’s Swine Veterinarians Public Policy Advocacy Program. This was the first of three sessions for the swine veterinarians. For more information on PLI, contact Bryan Humphreys at 515-278-8012; for information on the swine veterinarians program, contact Terry Paulo at 202-347-3600.
REP. ADRIAN SMITH AWARDED ‘FRIEND OF PORK’
NPPC Wednesday presented Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., with the “Friend of Pork” award at its fall legislative conference. The award is reserved for members of Congress who demonstrate a strong commitment to and continually work to advance the U.S. pork industry. Smith, a sixth-generation Nebraskan, representing the nation’s fifth largest hog-producing region, has been a very strong advocate for pork farmers here and abroad. He is co-chairman of the House Modern Agriculture Caucus and has hosted animal welfare briefings to educate members of Congress and staff on food-animal production practices. Smith also has been helpful in reining in heavy-handed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on livestock producers. He urged U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to get Colombia to remove its costly and non-science-based trichinae mitigation requirements on U.S. pork and to make sure agriculture is included in the talks being held by a U.S.-European Union working group that’s considering a U.S.-EU free trade agreement.
TPP NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE
The 14th round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement concludes Sept. 15 in Leesburg, Va., with uneven progress made toward the conclusion of the more than 20 chapters under negotiation. TPP is a regional trade pact that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. In June, Mexico and Canada were invited to join the TPP negotiations but will not formally join negotiations until December. Vietnam offers the most potential among TPP countries for expanding U.S. pork exports. Laurie Hueneke, NPPC director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary and Technical Issues, attended a meeting on sanitary-phytosanitary issues during the negotiations.
HOUSE PASSES CONTINUING RESOLUTION TO FUND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The House yesterday passed a continuing resolution (H.J. Res. 117) for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 to fund federal programs and services until March 27, 2013. The resolution passed by a vote of 329-91 and provides more than $1 trillion to fund the federal government over the next six months. Pork industry priorities, such as feral hog control, animal traceability and pseudorabies surveillance programs, will continue operating with the same amount of funds as the previous fiscal year. The resolution instructs agencies to develop plans explaining how they will allocate the funding among programs, projects and activities. A continuing resolution was necessary because Congress has not agreed on any of the 12 annual appropriations bills. Congressional leaders brokered this resolution in late July, kicking a multitude of fiscal decisions into next year.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN NORTH CAROLINA FOOD SAFETY FORUM
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom in late August presented the keynote address at the North Carolina Eighth Annual Commissioner’s Food Safety Forum, speaking about food safety challenges in the meat industry. The forum served as a discussion for the nation’s food safety experts, lawmakers, industry leaders, regulators, public health officials, emergency management and academia on the future of food safety. Topics included regulations resulting from the Food Safety Modernization Act, the latest industry efforts to combat food safety risks and the relationship between animal health and food safety.