For the Week Ending July 21, 2017
SUPPORT FOR FMD VACCINE BANK GROWS
NPPC was among the lead signatories on a letter sent by an ad hoc coalition of more than 100 agricultural organizations and allied industry groups calling for federal funding of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill. The letter, sent to the to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House agriculture committees, followed last week’s congressional visits by veterinarians from NPPC’s Swine Veterinarians Public Policy Advocacy Program to educate lawmakers about the catastrophic economic impact of an FMD outbreak not quickly contained through vaccine.
NAFTA OBJECTIVES RELEASED; RENEGOTIATION STARTS AUG. 16
The Trump administration this week released a 17-page document outlining its NAFTA renegotiation objectives. Maintaining reciprocal duty-free access for agricultural products is among the goals identified. NAFTA renegotiations are officially set to begin Aug. 16.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE ADOPTS H-2A PROGRAM AMENDMENT
The House Appropriations Committee this week adopted an amendment to the fiscal 2018 Homeland Security spending bill that expands the number of businesses that can apply for the H-2A visa program for temporary or seasonal agriculture workers and removes the requirement that the work be short term. The amendment, agreed to by voice vote, was debated at a House Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee hearing later in the week. Pork producers face a significant labor shortage and are encouraged by the committee action. NPPC is engaging both the administration and members of Congress to find solutions for this serious problem.
EPA FILES MOTION TO DELAY EMISSIONS REPORTING RULING
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to stay the court’s 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.
LIVESTOCK HAULERS VISIT WASHINGTON, D.C.
Ten livestock haulers from Iowa, as well as several U.S. pork producers, traveled to Washington this week to meet with government officials about a pending mandate from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that requires all commercial vehicle operators to track their hours of service with electronic logging devices after Dec. 18, 2017. The mandate is not practical for livestock transportation and could lead to animal welfare issues. The group met with Congressman Brian Babin, R-Texas, who introduced legislation this week, the “Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Extension Act of 2017,” that would delay the ELD mandate by two years, allowing the FMCSA to find a workable solution for livestock production and transportation.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday held a hearing, The State of Infrastructure in Rural America, that included testimony from six Rebuild Rural Coalition partners on the role of improved roads and bridges, clean water, reliable electricity and broadband Internet access in strengthening the competitiveness of American agriculture. NPPC is a member of the coalition.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN CODEX COMMISSION MEETING
The U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food safety standards-setting body, convened this week in Geneva, Switzerland. NPPC’s Courtney Knupp, deputy director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary & Technical Issues, attended the meeting as a member of the U.S. delegation. At the meeting, two working groups dedicated to antimicrobial resistance issues were established. These groups will prepare for a special November task force meeting in South Korea. NPPC’s s Dr. Liz Wagstrom will participate in the task force meeting as a technical expert.
USDA UNDERSECRETARY OF TRADE NOMINEE ANNOUNCED
President Trump this week appointed Ted McKinney as USDA’s undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. McKinney is currently director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “His [Ted McKinney] longstanding background in agriculture, economic development and global issues will make him an unapologetic advocate for U.S. products in the world marketplace.” Dr. Sam Clovis was nominated for the position of undersecretary for research, education and economics at the USDA. Dr. Clovis is a former economics professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE’S SUBCOMMITTE ON REGULATORY REFORM, COMMERCIAL AND ANTITRUST LAW TO HOST HEARING
The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law next Tuesday will host a hearing on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act.” The bill is designed to prevent states from implementing regulations that negatively impact consumers and businesses across state borders. NPPC CEO Neil Dierks will testify at the hearing.
AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE TO HOST HEARING ON NAFTA
The House Committee on Agriculture next Wednesday will host a hearing titled Renegotiating NAFTA: Opportunities for Agriculture.
NAFTA RENEGOTIATIONS TO BEGIN
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative this week announced that the first round of NAFTA renegotiations among the United States, Canada and Mexico will open on Aug. 16 in Washington, D.C. John Melle, the assistant U.S. trade representative, will serve as the chief negotiator.