For the Week Ending July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017

NPPC CEO TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF NO REGULATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION ACT OF 2017

At a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing this week, NPPC CEO Neil Dierks testified in support of the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017,” H.R. 2887, legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would prohibit a state from imposing tax or regulatory burdens on businesses, including pork operations, not physically present in the state. For example, states such as California and Massachusetts, with very little pork production, have banned the use of gestation stalls in their state while prohibiting the sale in their state of pork from pigs born to sows housed in these stalls from any state. NPPC acknowledged the rights of states to regulate within their borders – even when these decisions are uninformed – but advocated against the ability of states to dictate the practices of farmers in the other 49 states.

NPPC APPLAUDS EPA FOR COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO FARM REGULATION

NPPC this week applauded two actions reflecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s common sense approach to farm regulation. NPPC filed a brief in support of the EPA’s recent motion to stay a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit April 11 decision that rejected the farm exemption for emissions reporting requirements. In filing the motion, the EPA is seeking more time for farms to estimate their emissions and to explore regulatory and administrative approaches to their reporting obligations. Regardless of the court’s decision, NPPC will continue to explore regulatory solutions. In addition, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers this week formally initiated the process to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, proposing a regulation to repeal it and opening a 30-day public comment period on rescinding the rule. Earlier this year, the Trump administration ordered a review of the WOTUS rule, which broadened the EPA’s regulatory authority over waterways to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as those that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also expanded the EPA’s authority to include lands adjacent to such waters. Public comments on the repeal regulation can be filed here.

KOREA ASKS U.S. TO POSTPONE KORUS REVIEW

South Korea this week requested that the Trump administration postpone any review of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) until its new trade minister is appointed. The request comes after USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer requested a review of the agreement in a July 12 letter to Korea’s former minister of trade. In response, South Korea suggested that both sides “objectively examine, analyze and assess the effects” of KORUS before this meeting takes place. Based on the trade agreement, the two countries must meet within 30 days of the initial request, or by Aug. 11.

PRE-NAFTA RENEGOTIATION DISCUSSIONS INTENSIFY

The House Committee on Agriculture this week held a hearing on the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations. After hearing from stakeholders on the importance of the trade agreement to the agriculture industry, committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said, “Whether you’re focused on maintaining current market access or you are eager for the prospects of expanded trade opportunities, production agriculture stands to benefit from a modernized trade agreement with our neighbors to the north and south. As always, we must stay vigilant and all work together to ensure we achieve the best deal possible for American agriculture.” In other developments this week leading up to the NAFTA renegotiations set to begin on Aug. 16, 32 freshman House Republicans sent a letter to USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer urging him to protect the considerable benefits realized by agriculture and other U.S. economic sectors. USDA Sonny Secretary Perdue traveled to Mexico to meet with Mexican Secretary of Agriculture José Calzada Rovirosa to discuss ways to further strengthen agricultural trade collaboration between the two countries.

U.K. TRADE SECRETARY VISITS U.S.

U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox this week visited Washington, D.C., to talk with USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross about a U.S.-U.K. bilateral trade agreement, following the U.K.’s exit from the European Union. The meeting was the first for the newly established U.S.-U.K. Trade and Investment Working Group created to manage preliminary trade talks between the two countries.

NPPC SUPPORTS AG NOMINATIONS

NPPC has signed letters of support for the following USDA nominations: Steve Censky, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Dr. Sam Clovis, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics; and Ted Mckinney, Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs. In addition, NPPC was among the signatories to a letter this week supporting the nominations of Dawn DeBerry Stump and Rostin (Russ) Behnam as commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

NPPC TRADE STAFF IN ARGENTINA

NPPC’s Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel, global government affairs, and Maria Zieba, deputy director of international affairs, this week traveled to Argentina for meetings with U.S. embassy officials and senior Argentine agricultural, foreign ministry, trade and private-sector officials. Argentina currently has a de facto ban on U.S. pork. NPPC is working closely with the Trump administration and the Macri government in Argentina in pursuit of market access for US pork.

WHAT’S AHEAD 

FARM BILL LISTENING SESSION IN TEXAS

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, announced this week that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be in attendance at San Angelo University in San Antonio, Texas, on July 31 for Conversations in the Field, a Farm Bill listening session.

NPPC BOARD MEMBER TO PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL AG POLICY ROUNDTABLE EVENT

NPPC Board Member Jim Compart will participate in the National Ag Policy Roundtable during Minnesota’s FarmFest on Aug. 2. 

MINNESOTA PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT AT FARM BILL LISTENING SESSION

Jay Moore, president of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, will be a witness at the Minnesota segment of Conversations in the Field, an Aug. 3 Farm Bill listening session organized by the House Committee on Agriculture.

FORMER NPPC PRESIDENT ON TRADE PANEL

Randy Spronk, former NPPC president, will be a panelist at the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines, Iowa. The Aug. 5 panel on manufacturing and trade also includes Fred Gorrell, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Assistant Deputy Minister; Mark Core, vice president of Marketing and Lifecycle Management of Vermeer; and Jim Field, president of John Deere’s Agriculture and Turf Division.