For The Week Ending April 19, 2013
NPPC MEETS WITH CANADIAN, MEXICAN PORK PRODUCERS GROUPS
NPPC President Randy Spronk, President-Elect Dr. Howard Hill, Vice President Dr. Ron Prestage, CEO Neil Dierks and Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano met this week in Canada with staff and board leadership from the Canadian Pork Council and the Mexican pork producer organization, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos. The producer groups discussed issues of mutual interest, including the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling law, animal health, food safety, industry economics, animal care and trade.
AGRICULTURE GROUPS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE ON JAPAN ENTERING TPP
NPPC, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Cargill Incorporated, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Potato Council and the U.S. Dairy Export Council Monday held a press conference to discuss the benefits to U.S. agriculture of having Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. Increased pork exports resulting from a TPP agreement would create more than 20,000 direct and indirect U.S. pork-related jobs, with the vast majority generated by Japan alone, according to NPPC. The United States last week agreed to accept Japan into the TPP talks. Click here to read more.
GROUP TWISTS DATA TO BLAME ANIMAL AGRICULTURE FOR ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
Just days after the release of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report showing that medical doctors annually are prescribing enough antibiotics to give them to 80 percent of Americans, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) this week issued its own report, claiming that antibiotics use in food animals is the main cause for people developing antibiotic-resistant diseases. It used selective and incomplete 2011 government data on retail meat samples to blame America’s livestock and poultry farmers for the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant illnesses in people. In fact, pointed out NPPC, 2000 to 2010 data from the federal National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System show a very low incidence of pathogenic bacteria on meat and stable to declining rates of those bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The EWG report was released ahead of congressional action on reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). Many groups who support legislation to ban the use in food animals of antibiotics that prevent or control diseases and of ones that improve nutritional efficiency are weighing in on ADUFA, urging Congress to limit the animal health products available to livestock producers. But, said NPPC, numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments, including studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have shown a “negligible” risk to human health of antibiotics use in livestock and poultry production. NPPC wants an ADUFA reauthorization bill that’s free of amendments. The law allows FDA to collect fees from animal health companies for the timely review and approval of products. Click here to read more.
NPPC URGES STANDARDS FOR TRICHINAE THAT INCLUDE SURVEILLANCE
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has established a working group to revise the current OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code Chapter on Trichinellosis. The working group has developed a final draft standard that will be up for adoption at the OIE General Session in May. The current draft chapter lacks specificity and flexibility, and only several European countries will be able to take advantage of the standard. Ironically, the draft chapter is so vague that it actually encourages countries to continue to impose additional trichinae-related restrictions on pork. This is not a global standard. The U.S. supports guidance provided by the International Commission on Trichinellosis that a population of pigs may be considered to pose negligible risk for Trichinella based on a statistically valid surveillance program and further proved through reported human health data. 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 ex officio 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 OIE general session, NPPC is urging OIE officials to make appropriate changes to the chapter on Trichinellosis to ensure flexibility and specificity that allow countries such as the United States to document and defend its negligible risk status.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE TO BEGIN MARKUP OF FARM BILL IN MAY
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., Thursday met with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Va., to discuss the timeline for Farm Bill action. According to committee spokesperson Tamara Hinton, a markup of a new five-year Farm Bill will begin May 15. The House Agriculture Committee last July approved a new Farm Bill, but a floor debate was never scheduled, prompting an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. NPPC will keep members up-to-date on Farm Bill developments.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE HOLDS USDA BUDGET HEARINGS
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies held several hearings last week on USDA’s fiscal 2014 budget requests. Tuesday’s hearing featured testimony from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., questioned the administration’s request of $137.5 for USDA, stating that the agency is “missing a major investment opportunity when it comes to agriculture exports.” Click here to read testimony and to watch the hearing. Wednesday the subcommittee held a hearing on the USDA Research, Education, and Economics budget request, with Aderholt calling on USDA to prioritize its research missions and questioning USDA Agriculture Research Service’s $155 million funding request. Click here to read testimonies. The subcommittee Thursday held a hearing on USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs’ funding request for $925.5 million. Aderholt questioned the proposed decrease in funding for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), saying it is “USDA’s leading agency for fighting trade barriers overseas and helping U.S. exporters open new markets.” Click here to read testimonies.
HOUSE COMMITTEE SOLICITS COMMENTS ON AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS OF RFS
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Thursday issued a notice asking for comments on the agricultural impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS last year required 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended into gasoline; it mandates that 13.9 billion gallons be blended in 2013, an amount that will use about 4.9 billion bushels of corn. NPPC supports reform of the RFS that ensures market stability, feed availability and the long-term sustainability of rural American economies. NPPC will be submitting comments. Click here to read the notice.
ANIMAL AGRICULTURE ALLIANCE SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN MAY
The 12th annual Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, titled Activists at the Door: Protecting Animals, Farms, Food & Consumer Confidence, will be held in Arlington, Va., May 1-2. Click here to register.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE TO HOLD BUDGET HEARINGS
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies next week will hold a series of hearings on the budget requests for USDA’s Rural Development, Natural Resources and Environment and Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services and for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Click here for schedules.