For the Week Ending August 24, 2018
|NPPC PUSHES FOR ACTION TO PREVENT U.S. AFRICAN SWINE FEVER OUTBREAK
With a fourth case of African Swine Fever (ASF) confirmed this week in China, the U.S. pork industry is taking steps to protect America’s pork producers. ASF is a highly contagious disease affecting only pigs and has a high mortality rate. It is endemic in many parts of the world. It’s presence in China is of particular concern because of the high volume of trade that country does with the United States and because it exports to America several goods that can harbor the ASF virus, such as amino acids, minerals, vitamins and soybean cakes. If the United States were to get the disease, U.S. pork export markets would close immediately. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates ASF would cost the pork industry $8 billion in the first year of an outbreak. NPPC is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to strengthen U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspections, to communicate the risks to livestock feed importers and to prevent the virus from entering the country via Chinese feed products. To help in those efforts, NPPC is asking as part of the 2018 Farm Bill for $30 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which does animal disease diagnostics, and $70 million in block grants for state animal-health agencies for efforts to prevent diseases, in addition to $150 million for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.
AUSTRALIA SWEARS IN NEW PRIME MINISTER FRIDAY
Scott Morrison today succeeded Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of Australia, becoming the 30th prime minister in the country’s history. With Morrison’s record of supporting free trade, NPPC is hoping to get full access to the Australian market. Pork is the largest U.S. agricultural export to Australia, but market access has been restricted through its prohibition on selling chilled and frozen U.S. pork at retail. That decision was not based on science. U.S. pork exports would increase significantly if Australia eliminated its unjustified restrictions, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.
FMCSA SEEKING COMMENT ON HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) this week announced it is seeking public comment on revising current Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers. The FMCSA request comes in response to congressional, industry and public concerns about the incompatibility of current HOS rules for industry-specific truck drivers, including livestock haulers. The public comment period will be open for 30 days. The four specific areas under consideration for revision are: expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty; extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions; revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving; and reinstating the option for splitting the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment. NPPC continues to seek a limited exemption for livestock haulers from the DOT’s Dec. 18, 2017, Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. A fiscal 2018 federal spending law delayed the ELD mandate for livestock truckers until Oct. 1, 2018. The DOT is considering NPPC’s request for an exemption while also developing additional regulatory options for livestock haulers, which would provide increased flexibility within the rules to address highway safety and the specific animal welfare requirements of livestock haulers.
NPPC LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN 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 this week launched 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 to showcase U.S. pork priorities 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 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.)
FARM BILL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE TO MEET SEPT. 5
Farm Bill conferees selected from the House and Senate will meet for the first time Sept. 5 in hopes of reaching common ground on the 2018 legislation and ironing out differences between their respective versions of the legislations.
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 end trade disputes and 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.