For the Week Ending August 17, 2018
|NPPC SUPPORTS FARM BILL WORK, URGES ADOPTION OF PROVISIONS PROTECTING PRODUCERS
NPPC this week sent a letter to Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., of the House Committee on Agriculture, urging Congress to include two provisions important to pork producers in the 2018 Farm Bill. One provision sets up and funds a robust Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank and the other protects interstate commerce by prohibiting states from regulating agricultural practices outside their borders. NPPC is requesting that the conference committee working out differences between the Senate- and House-passed Farm Bills include in the final legislation full funding – $250 million annually – for the vaccine bank, state block grants and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which conducts animal disease diagnostics. The “Protecting Interstate Commerce Act” provision, which is included in the House Farm Bill, is necessary because two states – so far – are attempting to dictate the agricultural production practices in the other states by restricting the sales of out-of-state products. In addition, an NPPC-led coalition of more than 120 animal agriculture organizations recently sent a letter to Senate members of the conference committee, urging them to establish and fully fund an FMD vaccine bank in the final Farm Bill.
WOTUS RULE SUSPENSION OVERTURNED; NPPC WANTS NATIONWIDE STAY
A U.S. District Court has ruled that the Trump administration improperly suspended the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. A coalition of business and agricultural groups, including NPPC, has filed a notice of appeal of the decision. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency a year ago said it would repeal and replace the Obama-era regulation, and it delayed the rule’s effective date until 2020. The rule, which took effect in August 2015, was enjoined in 24 states that brought lawsuits against it. A U.S. District Court in Georgia in June issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the regulation in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and a District Court in North Dakota in August 2015 did the same for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. But U.S. District Judge David Norton in South Carolina on Thursday agreed with environmental groups that EPA did not follow the Administrative Procedures Act when suspending the rule, making the regulation effective in the 26 states where it hadn’t been blocked. Earlier this year, the business and agricultural coalition asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas for a nationwide stay of the WOTUS rule, arguing that the EPA’s repeal-and-replace process likely will be subjected to legal challenges and that “a nationwide preliminary injunction is imperative.” The WOTUS rule expanded EPA’s authority over various waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters. The agency’s jurisdiction had included only “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters.
NAFTA RENEGOTIATION TALKS CONTINUE
Talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continued for the fourth straight week as representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico pushed to finalize an updated deal. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to maintain zero-duty market access for U.S. pork exports to Canada and Mexico and to caution that terminating the agreement would be detrimental for the U.S. pork industry, costing an estimated $1.5 billion. Additionally, NPPC this week joined other agricultural organizations on a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, expressing support for their “efforts to swiftly conclude NAFTA negotiations” but raising concerns about “new barriers for U.S. agricultural trade.” Specifically, the groups noted a provision that would place seasonal tariffs on a number of fruits and vegetables exported to the United States. “While the intent of this provision may be to protect certain U.S. growers from Mexican imports,” the organizations said, “it will only raise prices on the fresh produce American families expect year-round. Once established, this new rule will make it easier for Mexico and Canada to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of produce from the United States as well.”
FDA ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE ON FOOD FACILITY REGISTRATION
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued guidance documents for registering food facilities, including commercial fee mills, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The guidance will help owners and operators of facilities that manufacture/process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption understand the registration requirements. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) added new registration provisions to the FD&C Act, and in 2016 FDA issued a final rule on the amendments to registration of food facilities to reflect the changes. The guidance issued today builds on previous guidance to include questions and answers on the final rule. (FDA previously exempted from the FSMA private feed mills that supply contract growers in the same system.) FDA also released a supplemental draft guidance that includes questions and answers that clarify the agency’s thinking about the registration requirements in situations in which multiple entities are involved in the use of shared physical space.
CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF PORK INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
In addition to continuing to press the Trump administration for a swift resolution of the ongoing trade disputes that have caused significant financial harm to the U.S. pork industry, NPPC is launching a campaign to spotlight critical near-term legislative and regulatory efforts that would buoy pork producers while the United States realigns global trade policy. The campaign – “Pork Over a Barrel” – is designed to raise public awareness of the challenges the pork industry faces and of the opportunities to provide relief to producers through public-policy initiatives, including:
The campaign, which starts next week, will include the use of social media, digital advertising, op-eds and other outreach efforts, reinforcing NPPC’s position on the issues and (hopefully) prompting congressional action on them. (Click here for more information on the legislative and regulatory issues.)
NPPC MEMBERS TO LOBBY CONGRESS ON PORK INDUSTRY ISSUES
NPPC will host its fall Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 12-13. The biannual fly-in draws from around the country more than 125 pork producers, including 18 who will be participating in NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute, a grassroots leadership development program. Producers will lobby congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry, including asking them to urge the Trump administration to pursue bilateral trade agreements, to rescind regulations detrimental to agriculture, adopt a visa reform package addressing the agricultural labor shortage and to support establishing and funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.