For the Week Ending January 19, 2018

January 26, 2018

NO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL AS OF 2:15 PM CT 

At Capital Update publication time, Congress still had not approved a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government open. Given the possibility of a shutdown, NPPC early Friday joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the North American Meat Institute on a letter urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to classify as “essential” employees who produce the Livestock Mandatory Price Reports as well as inspectors with the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The White House Office of Management and Budget will determine essential employees should the federal government shutdown.

 

NPPC CONTINUING EFFORTS TO PRESERVE NAFTA

A coalition of 37 agricultural organizations, including NPPC, Thursday announced the creation of Americans for Farmers and Families, which will work to preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The group will educate policymakers on the economic benefits of the trade deal between the United States, Canada and Mexico and the importance of maintaining the agreement. NPPC has been urging the Trump administration to keep the United States in NAFTA and to maintain zero-duty market access for U.S. pork exports to Canada and Mexico in any modernized deal. Losing access to the markets would cost the pork industry $1.5 billion. Also this week, NPPC took that message to Capitol Hill, with Director of International Affairs Maria Zieba participating Wednesday in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-organized NAFTA lobbying day and Thursday meeting with lawmakers representing North Carolina.

 

USDA PROPOSES PORK SLAUGHTER RULE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today issued its proposed Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule, which would make available to all pork packing plants the 20-year-old Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP). That pilot program enables USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to better focus its resources to ensure safe products are entering the food supply. The program currently is in place at 20 broiler processing facilities, five hog and five turkey plants. Under HIMP, packing plants could take greater responsibility for carcass inspection, with FSIS employees ensuring the effectiveness of the activities as well as focusing on other food-safety verification tasks. NPPC strongly supports the rule, which also will expedite the incorporation of new food-safety technologies in packing plants.

 

NPPC URGES REAUTHORIZATION OF ANIMAL DRUG APPROVAL LAW

NPPC Deputy Director of Science and Technology Dr. Dan Kovich this week participated in a briefing for staff of the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions on reauthorizing the Animal Drug User Fee Act. ADUFA provides user fees to supplement the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous and robust review of animal drugs by providing additional resources for timely reviews of new animal drug applications. The law must be reauthorized every five years. Kovich told staffers that more timely reviews ensure that pork producers and their veterinarians have expedited access to new and innovative products for pigs, which help ensure public and animal health.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

DEADLINE FOR FARMERS TO REPORT AIR EMISSIONS APPROACHING

Farmers whose livestock and poultry operations meet certain thresholds will need to report their air emissions, beginning Jan. 22. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April 2017 rejected an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA mainly is used to clean hazardous waste sites but has a federal reporting component, while EPCRA requires entities to report on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders. The court late last year pushed back the reporting deadline after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – supported by a brief from NPPC and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association – asked it to delay the mandate so that the agency could have “more time to provide farmers more specific and final guidance before they must estimate and report emissions and to develop a system that allows farmers to comply with their legal obligations.” More information on the reporting requirement, including how to report emissions, can be found here.

 

LAST SCHEDULED NAFTA RENEGOTIATION TALKS BEGIN NEXT WEEK

Trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet Jan. 23-28 in Montreal for the sixth round of renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the last scheduled NAFTA talks. NPPC continues to extol the benefits of the agreement in an effort to keep the United States in the deal.

 

STATE PORK ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETINGS ROLL ON

Throughout January and February, many state pork associations will host their annual meetings. For more on the meetings, visit NPPC’s website here

 

U.S. AG CENSUS QUESTIONNAIRE DUE FEB. 5

Reminder to complete by Feb. 5 the 2017 Census of Agriculture, which was distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Census survey can be returned by mail or can be completed online here. Completing the online survey requires a 17-digit code, which can be found on the address label on the paper questionnaire or letter you received in the mail.