For the Week Ending March 6, 2020

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At the National Pork Industry Forum on Friday in Kansas City, Mo., USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach announced an African swine fever (ASF) action plan should the swine-only disease be detected in the United Sates. According to the plan, USDA Secretary Perdue would immediately declare an “extraordinary emergency” if ASF was detected in the United States. In doing so, the USDA would be established as the leader of a national, coordinated response to control and eradicate the swine disease, which poses no human health or food safety risks. “We are grateful to Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Ibach for hearing the concerns of U.S. pork producers,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. Other elements of the USDA response plan include: a national stop-movement of pigs order of at least 72-hours with an eye toward restoring movement on a regionalized basis as soon as possible; depopulation efforts aligned with guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association and in coordination with state animal health officials and the industry; support for carcass disposal in line with regional and local requirements (composting and burial in place identified as preferred options; and payments for virus elimination at a uniform, flat rate based on the size of affected premises. To read the full NPPC press release, click here

On Tuesday, President Trump signed into law S. 2107, which authorizes funding for 720 new agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports to prevent African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases (FAD) from entering the United States. Providing additional agricultural inspectors represents a top priority for NPPC. “Ensuring we have enough agricultural inspectors at our borders is critical to maintaining a healthy U.S. swine herd,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have done much to mitigate the risk to animal disease. Bolstered by this legislation, even more resources will be available to strengthen biosecurity at our borders. This is a victory for farmers, consumers and the American economy,” he said. NPPC will work with Congress appropriations to make sure CBP is fully funded to ensure the benefits of S. 2107 are fully realized. S. 2107 also authorizes 600 new agricultural technicians and 60 new agricultural canine teams. To read the full NPPC press release, click here

On Friday, NPPC elected new officers and members to its board of directors at its National Pork Industry Forum held in Kansas City, Mo. Howard A.V. Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis., was elected NPPC president. A fifth-generation farmer, he owns and operates Roth Feeder Pigs. In addition to serving on the NPPC board for the past eight years, Roth previously sat on the Wisconsin Pork Association board of directors and currently serves as chairman of the association’s Swine Health Committee. Roth takes over from David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C., who becomes NPPC immediate past president and chairman of the council’s trade and nominating committees. Jen Sorenson was elevated to president-elect. She is communications director for Iowa Select Farms, an Iowa farming business that markets more than four million hogs per year. Prior to her time at Iowa Select Farms, she was communications director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Additionally, Terry Wolters of Pipeline, Minn., was elected by the NPPC board of directors to be vice president. “AV, Jen and Terry have long-standing and diverse experience that will benefit NPPC and our producers,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “With the addition of our new board members, NPPC remains well positioned to advocate for the public policy interests of America’s pork producers.” To read the full NPPC press release, click here.  


This week, delegates at NPPC’s National Pork Industry Forum held in Kansas City, Mo., adopted several important resolutions, including those that call on NPPC to strengthen efforts to prevent African swine fever (ASF) —an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks—and other foreign animal diseases from entering the United States. Separate resolutions were adopted directing NPPC to encourage federal regulatory agencies to investigate the risks of imported pet food and pet products containing pork from foreign animal disease-positive countries; take a position on feeding hogs from plate waste; and support and advance responsible import policies to safely introduce essential feed ingredients from high-risk countries. Resolutions were also adopted for NPPC to advocate for accurate and truthful labeling of plant-based and cell-cultured products, while supporting enforcement of fair labeling by the Food and Drug Administration and USDA.  “These resolutions reflect the priorities that will help shape the future of the U.S. pork industry,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. “NPPC will work with Congress, the administration and others to address these vital issues for American hog farmers.” To read the full NPPC press release, click here

 As hundreds of members met this week at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo., NPPC launched a second round of ads serving notice that plant-based products designed to mimic pork can’t be labeled as pork. “Pork: It Comes From a Pig, Not Silicon Valley” greeted U.S. pork producers and other travelers at Kansas City International Airport. The U.S. pork industry welcomes competition, but the rules must be fair and consistent. Just as pork producers can’t call their product beef or chicken, plant-based products can’t be called pork. The ads will run throughout March. NPPC first ran ads last month at the Des Moines airport, both before and during the Iowa Caucus. On Monday, the Kansas City Star ran a letter to the editor by NPPC board member Scott Hays, a hog farmer from Monroe City, Mo., outlining labeling concerns with plant-based products. “It is wrong for plant-based food products funded by Silicon Valley to violate the brand of a product that has for centuries been known by consumers to come from a pig. U.S. pork producers support competition, but it needs to be on a level playing field. That’s not impossible; that’s just plain fair,” he wrote. 


Everett Forkner, a longtime Missouri pork producer who was instrumental in establishing the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) certification program—representing the U.S. pork industry’s production standards—was inducted Thursday into NPPC’s Hall of Fame. Forker received the honor during the National Pork Industry Forum held in Kansas City, Mo., this week. In college, he launched his own pork production enterprise, Forkner Farms, and later formed Truline Genetics. His wean-to-finish barns, built in the late 1990s, were the first of their kind in Missouri. He served with the Missouri Pork Association and in 2012 was named president of the National Pork Board. “With more than 50 years of service to producers in Missouri and around the country, Everett Forkner’s career is the very definition of a lifetime commitment,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. “His leadership, passionate advocacy on animal health and sustainability, and innovative production practices are widely recognized by pork producers. For his ongoing success and leadership in our industry, we are pleased to induct Everett into the NPPC Hall of Fame.” To read the full NPPC press release, click here


On Thursday, NPPC and the National Pork Board presented former Texas Pork Producers Association Executive Vice President Ken Horton with the Paulson-Whitmore State Executive Award at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo. The award, named after former Minnesota and Wisconsin Executive Directors Don Paulson and Rex Whitmore, recognizes the outstanding leadership and commitment of state pork organization executives. Horton led the Texas Pork Producers Association for 36 years until his retirement in 2013. His achievements included advocacy for common-sense, trucking regulation to facilitate the efficient transport of hogs around the state. He played a major role in educating state lawmakers about pork production practices and was a champion of environmental stewardship. “Ken Horton is a well-respected, strong leader for U.S. pork producers who has tirelessly advocated for our industry for more than 35 years,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks. “For his numerous years of service and commitment to ensuring future generations of hog farmers, NPPC and the Pork Board are pleased to present Ken with this well-deserved award.” To read the full NPPC press release, click here


On Friday, NPPC awarded scholarships to 10 college students who intend to pursue careers in the pork industry. The Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship program is sponsored by CME Group and the National Pork Industry Foundation, and managed and administered by NPPC. The award was announced at NPPC’s annual National Pork Industry Forum in Kanas City, Mo. The 2020 winners of the $2,500 scholarships are: Dana Edleman, South Dakota State University; Grace Greiner, Iowa State University; Molly Kroeger, South Dakota State University; Nolan Lyness, Iowa State University; Ethan Stas, Pennsylvania State University; Logan Tesch, South Dakota State University; Zannah Tyndall, North Carolina State University; Caitlyn Wileman, Iowa State University; Drew Wiley, Kansas State University; and Isaac Wiley, Iowa State University. To read the full NPPC press release, click here


On Thursday, NPPC joined nine other agriculture groups in once again urging Senate leadership to swiftly vote on the nomination of Dr. Mindy Brashears as under secretary of Food Safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her nomination was announced in 2018, and she is currently deputy under secretary of Food Safety for the agency. Brashears is “eminently qualified to fulfill the critical role of overseeing the safety of the nation’s meat, poultry and egg products,” the groups wrote. “For more than five years, USDA has not had a confirmed Under Secretary in the essential mission area of food safety….Without a doubt, we believe Dr. Brashears is the best choice to fulfill this function.  Her unique background and experience regarding food safety issues is unparalleled,” the groups wrote. 


The Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing on Thursday, March 12 on agriculture innovation and biotechnology regulation. Among witnesses will be Dr. Michael Paustian, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, who will talk about the significant benefits of gene editing technology, which allows for precise, small changes to specific genes. NPPC believes regulatory control over this technology needs to be moved from FDA to USDA, as it’s the only agency equipped to regulate gene editing in livestock. The hearing is scheduled for 10am ET and will be webcast at