For the Week Ending April 13, 2018
HOUSE FARM BILL INCLUDES FMD VACCINE BANK FUNDING
The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture this week released its 2018 Farm Bill language. The agriculture panel’s Farm Bill calls for first-year mandatory funding of $150 million for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, $70 million in block grants to the states for disease prevention and $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides diagnostic support to assist in managing diseases in the United States. For the other years of the 5-year Farm Bill, there’s $30 million in mandatory funding for state block grants and $20 million to be used at the Agriculture secretary’s discretion for the vaccine bank, the NAHLN and the states. NPPC is urging lawmakers to provide annual funding of $150 million for the vaccine bank, $70 million for state block grants and $30 million for the NAHLN over the life of the Farm Bill. In an NPPC press release, President Jim Heimerl said, “Including FMD language in the House Farm Bill is a huge first step in addressing this gap in our disease prevention preparedness. We are very grateful to the House Agriculture Committee for its efforts on this very important issue for livestock agriculture.” According to Iowa State University economists, an FMD outbreak in the United States, which would prompt countries to close their markets to U.S. meat exports – thus creating a surplus of meat on the domestic market – would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over 10 years if livestock producers weren’t able to combat the disease through vaccination. U.S. pork producers address the importance of FMD preparation in this video.
ARGENTINA NOW OPEN TO U.S. PORK IMPORTS
Following an agreement in principle reached last year, the United States may now ship fresh, frozen and processed pork to Argentina. NPPC worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to get access to the market, a significant victory for U.S. pork in eliminating unwarranted, unscientific trade barriers. Argentina, which had a de facto ban on U.S. pork, has a population of more than 44 million and a per capita income of $17,250 – higher than Mexico’s – making it an attractive market for U.S. pork. The new opening represents the first time in 25 years that U.S. pork will be allowed in Argentina, which has the potential to be a $10 million-a-year market for U.S. pork producers.
U.S. PORK PRODUCERS FLY-IN TO WASHINGTON
NPPC this week held its spring Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., with nearly 100 pork producers from 18 states attending the biannual fly-in to meet with their congressional representatives. The U.S. pork representatives advocated on these issues: the importance of maintaining existing free trade agreements and establishing new trade agreements; the need for mandatory federal funding for an Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank; support for H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act,” which would prevent states from regulating beyond their borders; the need for visa reform to address the industry’s labor shortage; and on highway safety regulations that are appropriate for livestock haulers. The ever-popular NPPC Congressional “Bacon Fest” drew another large crowd of pork producers, members of Congress and staffers eager to enjoy the world’s #1 protein.
PRESIDENT TRUMP DIRECTS USTR, NEC TO REEVALUATE TPP
In a meeting held at the White House Thursday, President Trump directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow to explore the prospect of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a move strongly supported by NPPC. President Trump withdrew from TPP last January shortly after assuming office. Under the terms of the agreement, TPP would have eliminated tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. pork exports to 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 foreign market. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – the new TPP – was signed in February by the remaining 11 Pacific-Rim nations, without the United States. NPPC welcomes the administration’s reevaluation of an agreement that promises to preserve and expand U.S. pork market share in key markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. SENATE CONFIRMS WHEELER FOR EPA POST
The U.S. Senate this week confirmed Andrew Wheeler, attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, to serve as deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wheeler, currently serving as co-head of Faegre Baker Daniels’ energy and natural resources practice, was confirmed by a 53-45 vote.