For the Week Ending July 2, 2020
July 2, 2020
NPPC SUPPORTS SENATE BILL TO BOLSTER HOG FARMERS IN CRISIS
Today, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced legislation, Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020, that will help aid hog farmers during the COVID-19 crisis. NPPC strongly supports the legislation. The bill would: 1) compensate hog and poultry producers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions; 2) increase funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners; and 3) revise the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding. NPPC’s press release can be read here.
NPPC LEADS COALITION WARNING CONGRESS OF AG INSPECTION FUNDING SHORTFALL
A coalition of more than 150 agriculture, trade and related groups led by NPPC sent a letter Monday to Congress warning of a major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural inspections at our borders. The letter urged lawmakers to protect our nation’s agriculture by appropriating funding to address what could be a $630 million COVID-19-related shortfall through fiscal year 2021. In the letter, the coalition highlighted a funding shortfall for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI), which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service collects the AQI user fees that pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19, there has been a significant reduction in the collection of these user fees. A copy of the press release is here. Preventing Africa swine fever and other foreign animal diseases from entering the country has been one of NPPC’s top priorities.
CONGRESS PASSES PPP EXTENSION
Congress this week passed an extension of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through Aug. 8. Late Tuesday, hours before expiration of the program on July 1, the Senate unanimously passed the extension, followed by the House on Wednesday. PPP still has $130 billion in allocated funds that remain unused. The PPP extension now heads to President Trump for signature. NPPC continues to urge SBA to ensure all hog farmers can access the program.
USMCA TAKES EFFECT
On Wednesday, July 1, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement went into effect. USMCA allows the U.S. pork industry to maintain zero-duty market access to two of our largest export markets. Exports help sustain a highly innovative, efficient and competitive U.S. pork production system, and they are especially critical today, providing economic benefits throughout the country. In 2019, Canada and Mexico took in more than 30 percent of the pork that was exported from the United States. U.S. pork exports to Canada and Mexico support more than 26,900 American jobs. In January, President Trump signed the trade agreement into law. Mexico ratified the agreement last year and Canada followed suit in March 2020.