For the Week Ending February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE HOLDS FARM BILL HEARING

The House Committee on Agriculture this week held a hearing to discuss rural America’s economic outlook and its impact on the 2018 Farm Bill. Topics discussed included low farm commodity prices, immigration reform, declining net farm income and tightening credit conditions. Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, stated: “Because we were asked during the last Farm Bill — when times were good — to cut twice before measuring once, in the upcoming Farm Bill debate we will measure our requirements first and then determine what kind of a budget we will need to meet these needs.” NPPC is working closely with members of the committee to ensure the next Farm Bill is good for U.S. pork producers. Among its requests for the 2018 Farm Bill is adequate funding for a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank.

 

TWO MORE TRUMP CABINET PICKS CONFIRMED

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., was confirmed Thursday by the Senate on a 51-49 vote as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. OMB likely will prepare a budget in the coming weeks and address raising the debt limit. Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C, and past president of NPPC, wrote in the Daily Caller: “Rep. Mick Mulvaney is a steadfast opponent of federal overspending and burdensome government regulations. As a friend and constituent, I know in that [OMB] position he will work tirelessly to help get the country’s fiscal house in order.” Click here to read Prestage’s op-ed. Confirmed Friday as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The Senate voted 52-46 to approve Pruitt. Click here to read NPPC’s statement on Pruitt.

 

CHILE PITCHES POST-TPP TRADE SUMMIT

Chile recently invited all 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to participate in a trade summit to discuss how to advance trade in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. As written, TPP cannot become effective without the United States. Mexico and Canada have confirmed attendance; however, the United States has not yet committed to attend the summit. “The main objective of these meetings is to start an integration process on how to advance trade and investment across these sub regions,” said Roberto Zapata, former Mexican TPP negotiator. “The Pacific Alliance, South Korea, China and the TPP countries are well placed to engage in this brainstorming iteration to see where common ground can be made.” The Pacific Alliance includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Several countries have expressed interest in a “TPP minus one” proposal that would include all of the TPP countries except the United States. “There were a lot of hard-fought gains that were achieved over intense negotiations over many years in relation to the TPP. I don’t want, and I know a number of other countries don’t want, those gains to slip through our fingers,” said Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo. The summit will take place March 14-15 in Vina del Mar, Chile.

 

‘BREXIT’ BILL PASSES HOUSE OF COMMONS

Britain’s House of Commons last week passed legislation allowing Prime Minister Theresa May to officially begin the process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union – the so-called Brexit. The legislation next will go to the House of Lords for a vote later this month. Members of Parliament (MPs) voted overwhelmingly, 494 to 122, to leave the EU. “The decision on EU membership has been made by the people we serve. It is now time for everyone, whichever way they voted in the referendum, to unite to make a success of the important task at hand for our country,” said MP David Davis, who is overseeing the exit from the EU. Members also debated how much say MPs would have on the final Brexit deal. May has promised that MPs would be allowed a “meaningful vote” on a final deal. May also vowed to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal mechanism to begin the EU withdrawal by the end of March. After debate, the House of Lords can either approve the bill to be signed into law or send it back to the House of Commons for further debate and votes.

 

RETAIL PRICE REPORTS RELEASED

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Wednesday released its monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for the month of January. The report provides insight into the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for various goods and services, including pork products. According to the report, the retail prices for bacon and bone-in chops increased from December. Also Wednesday, USDA’s Economic Research Service released its January Meat Price Spreads report, which provides insight into relative prices paid by consumers for red meat and poultry. The pork complex fell 0.4 percent from December and 5.9 percent year over year. For more economic analysis from NPPC, e-mail Dustin Baker, Deputy Director of Economics and Domestic Production, at bakerd@nppc.org.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

 

NPPC TO TESTIFY ON 2018 FARM BILL

Kansas pork producer Michael Springer next week will testify on behalf of NPPC on the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry will hold the first of a series of field hearings on the next Farm Bill Feb. 23 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. Check Capital Update next week for a recap of the hearing.