For the Week Ending August 12, 2022
Federal Judge Issues Stay of Massachusetts Question 3
With regulations implementing it set to take effect Monday, Aug. 15, a federal judge Thursday granted NPPC’s motion for a stay of Massachusetts Question 3. The law would ban the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with the state’s new prescriptive housing standards.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued the stay beginning Aug. 11 until 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court decides a case brought by NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation against California’s Proposition 12, which is similar to Question 3. That case will be considered during the high court’s fall term, and a ruling could be made by the end of the year.
NPPC joined the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, HospitalityMaine, the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and the Restaurant Law Center and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux in filing with the District Court a joint motion to stay the voter-approved 2016 ballot initiative, which would prohibit the sale of products from farms that confine “any breeding pig [sow], calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely.” The stay applies only to the sale of pork; Massachusetts farmers must comply with the housing standards.
Question 3, which the Massachusetts Legislature in late 2021 delayed after pressure from NPPC, would apply to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders. Nearly all pork currently produced in the United States fails to meet Massachusetts’ arbitrary standards, according to NPPC. (Read NPPC’s press release on the Question 3 delay here.)
Senate, House Approve Fiscal 2023 Budget Bill
The Senate and House this week approved a scaled-back fiscal 2023 budget reconciliation measure — known as the Inflation Reduction Act — that includes funding for health care, climate and energy initiatives, and the Farm Bill. The $370 billion bill also includes a new 15% corporate minimum tax for businesses with profits in excess of $1 billion.
For agriculture, the budget measure has $19.5 billion for Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and for conservation technical assistance, and a carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions quantification program.
The legislation is less than a quarter of the size of the budget bill passed last year by the House. Opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Republicans to many of the tax-and-spend provisions in that $1.6 trillion House measure, including for non-corporate taxpayers an expanded Net Investment Income Tax and an expanded and extended limitation on “excess” business losses, stalled Senate action on a reconciliation bill for the past several months.
In July, as the Senate considered its budget bill, NPPC joined nearly 200 agriculture and business organizations representing family-owned and small farms and companies in voicing opposition to the tax law changes in the House legislation. The lower chamber today approved the smaller Senate bill.
Pork Exports Down First Half of 2022 but Show Signs of Improvement
U.S. pork exports for the first half of the year were down by 19% in volume and 18% in value over the same period of 2021, according to recently released data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From January through June, the U.S. pork industry shipped to foreign destinations almost 1.1 million metric tons (MT) of product valued at $3 billion.
A significant portion of the drop in U.S. exports was attributable to China’s hog industry recovering from African swine fever and COVID-related issues. U.S. pork exports to China for 2022 through June were just 88,718 MT valued at $224 million compared with 303,396 MT valued at $698 million for the same six-month period in 2021. Exports to Japan, the U.S. pork industry’s No. 2 market, also fell from 2021’s record year, with the country taking more pork from the European Union, with which it has a free trade agreement.
Other top markets, however, increased imports of U.S. pork, with Mexico — the No. 1 export market — taking 24% more in volume and 15% more in value for the first six months of 2022 compared with the same period last year. No. 4 South Korea saw volume fall 5% but value increase by 9%, and exports to Colombia, a growing market for U.S. pork, were up 9% by volume and 8% by value over the first half of 2022 compared with 2021.
NPPC continues to work with the Biden administration to expand existing and open new markets to U.S. pork, recently getting better access to the Philippines and Vietnam.
NPPC Fall Legislative Fly-in Next Month
NPPC’s fall Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., will take place Sept. 14-15. The biannual fly-in draws more than 100 pork producers from around the country to meet with their members of Congress to discuss various issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry. Pork producers interested in attending should contact NPPC — 515-278-8012 — or their state pork association.