For the Week Ending July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020

NPPC PRESS CONFERENCE TO URGE CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON HOG FARMER CRISIS
NPPC’s top priority is a new COVID congressional relief package that includes much-needed financial assistance to U.S. pork producers in crisis. With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expected to unveil the next COVID package next week, NPPC is holding a media teleconference on Monday, July 20 to outline the current state of the crisis for hog farmers and the critical importance of the RELIEF for Producers Act, introduced earlier this month in the Senate. The press conference will feature NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., and Dr. Steve Meyer, an economist with Kerns & Associates. Media can register for the press conference here. In related news, Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said on Wednesday he expects agriculture to be included in the next COVID package. Hoeven anticipates the new relief effort to expand the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which among provisions provided $1.6 billion in direct payments to hog farmers. “The CFAP was a good step in helping producers weather the challenges of COVID-19. However, the pandemic’s impacts will continue to be felt over the long-term. Ensuring our producers can maintain their operations through these difficulties remains a top priority,” he said. 


DOT EXTENDS HOURS OF SERVICE WAIVERS FOR LIVESTOCK, FEED
On Monday, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended its COVID-19 emergency declaration for Hours of Service (HOS) waivers for the transportation of livestock and livestock feed. HOS governs the amount of time commercial truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. The waivers remain in force through Aug. 14. NPPC thanks the administration and FMCSA for ensuring the continuity of the U.S pork supply chain as an essential element of the nation’s food delivery infrastructure. 

DIETARY GUIDELINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE ISSUES FINAL REPORT
On Wednesday, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released its final report, which will be used to inform U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials as they develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The committee’s report supports pork’s role in a healthy, nutritious diet. USDA and HHS are accepting written comments through Aug. 13. For more information or to submit comments, click here.  

NPPC TO SIT ON AGRICULTURAL TRADE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
NPPC Immediate Past-President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C., and NPPC Director of International Affairs Maria Zieba were both named Friday as members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products. Zieba replaces NPPC-Past President Dr. Howard Hill, from Cambridge, Iowa, and they join NPPC Past-President Randy Spronk from Edgerton, Minn., who serves as a member of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products offers technical advice and information about specific commodities and products. Zieba and Herring will serve until 2024. For more information, visit USDA’s press release here

USDA ANNOUNCES FARM BILL FUNDING FOR ANIMAL DISEASE PROTECTION PROJECTS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Wednesday it is seeking project proposals supporting animal disease preparedness and response activities. The 2018 Farm Bill provided funding for these programs as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness, the agency explained. Up to $10 million will be targeted toward National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program projects and up to $5 million toward those for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Proposals must be submitted by Sept. 14. Read USDA’s announcement here

WHAT’S AHEAD?

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE HEARING ON DEPUTY USTR NOMINATION
On Tuesday, July 21, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nomination of Michael Nemelka to be deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). He is currently special advisor to USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. The hearing, scheduled for 10am ET, will be webcast at www.finance.senate.gov