For The Week Ending May 2, 2014





NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa, Wednesday testified on the state of the U.S. pork industry before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development and Credit. Dr. Hill gave an account of the devastating effects of the porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) on the U.S. swine herd as well as the effects of the mandatory U.S. country-of-origin labeling (MCOOL) law on pork producers. Questioned by multiple subcommittee members about PEDv, Dr. Hill noted the virus, which has no vaccine, has killed about 7 million pigs in 30 states since last April, losses that likely will reduce slaughter this summer by more than 10 percent. NPPC called on USDA to conduct a thorough investigation on the pathway PEDv and another virus used to gain entry into the U.S. swine herd, to conduct more research on the viral propagation of the diseases and to commit more resources to determining the pathogenesis of and ways to control the viruses. Dr. Hill also pointed out that the MCOOL law, which requires meat to be labeled with the country where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered, caused the Canadian pork industry to reduce production as U.S. hog farmers sought to avoid the costs and complications associated with the law. The statute prompted Canada and Mexico to bring trade cases before the World Trade Organization, which is expected to rule on them this summer. Should the WTO decide that the MCOOL law doesn’t meet U.S. international trade obligations, Canada and Mexico would be allowed to place retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. products, including pork. NPPC urges Congress to consider a legislative fix to the mandatory labeling law. Other witnesses at the hearing included USDA Chief Economist Dr. Joseph Glauber and other livestock industry representatives. Click here to read testimonies and watch the hearing.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman testified yesterday before the Senate Finance Committee on President Obama’s trade policy agenda, stating that he is working to “enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. goods and services by negotiating high-standard trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).  Last week, during his visit to Japan, President Obama indicated that progress had been made and a path forward had been identified on agriculture and autos in the TPP. However, NPPC continues to have serious problems with the current state of affairs. In addition to being the largest value market for U.S. pork exports – $1.89 billion in 2013 – Japan is the fourth largest market for all of U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of food and agricultural products to the island nation in 2013. A final TPP agreement that does not eliminate all tariffs and non-tariff barriers on U.S. pork products will negatively affect U.S. pork exports for the next 20 years, meaning billions of dollars less in U.S. pork sales and tens of thousands fewer U.S. jobs. For NPPC to support a final TPP agreement, Japan needs to eliminate all tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. pork and pork products.


Reps. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and 229 of their House colleagues are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw a proposed rule expanding jurisdiction over “waters of the United States.” In a letter sent yesterday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the 231 lawmakers expressed “serious concerns” with the proposed rule and asked the agencies withdraw it to address the “legal, economic, and scientific deficiencies of the proposal.” NPPC, 23 state pork associations and a number of other agricultural groups sent a letter to House lawmakers who haven’t signed the Collins-Schrader letter, urging them to do so and pointing out that the proposed rule “goes well beyond the authority granted the Agencies by Congress.” The effect of the rule on normal farming practices would be “significant and precedent setting,” said the groups. Ditches adjacent to farm land, for example, would be covered under the rule. NPPC is reviewing the rule to determine its effects on agriculture and will be submitting comments on it. Click here to read the Collins-Schrader letter.


NPPC Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano traveled to Chile this week to meet with government officials and private-sector representatives to discuss issues of mutual interest to the trade relationship between Chile and the United States. NPPC has worked closely with U.S. and Chilean officials on the removal of unscientific and burdensome trichinae mitigation measures that Chile requires the U.S. pork industry to meet. Chile has been one of the fastest growing markets in the world for U.S. pork exports since implementation of the U.S.-Chile FTA in 2004. U.S. pork sales to Chile have surged from 41 Metric tons (MT) in 2003, the year before the FTA went into effect, to 24,186 MT in 2013, valued at nearly $62 million. However, Chile maintains restrictions on U.S. pork because of unscientific concerns of trichinae that significantly obstruct U.S. pork exports. Chile only allows imports of U.S. pork products that have undergone trichinae risk mitigation, by either conducting carcass testing or freezing. According to Dr. Ray Gamble, president ex-officio of the International Commission on Trichinellosis, the odds of trichinae in the U.S. commercial pork supply is 1-in-300 million. The United States and Chile are part of the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trading bloc of 12 Pacific Rim countries. NPPC’s support for a final TPP agreement is conditioned on the elimination in every TPP country, including Chile, of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports.




The Senate Agriculture Committee next Wednesday will hold a hearing titled “2014 Farm Bill: Implementation and Next Steps.” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will testify on USDA’s enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) today will release the final results of the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The data is collected every five years and highlights shifting trends in operator demographics, agriculture production and farm economics. Detailed information will be included in next week’s Capital Update.


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