For the Week Ending May 26, 2017
NPPC RELEASES WHITE PAPER DETAILING BENEFITS OF NAFTA
Following last week’s notification by the Trump administration that it will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), NPPC Thursday released a white paper on the benefits of the trade deal among the United States, Canada and Mexico. The paper, which focuses on trade with Mexico, makes the case for not abandoning the 23-year-old pact and for not disrupting trade in sectors for which the agreement has worked well, including U.S. pork. Mexico is the No. 2 export market for U.S. pork and Canada is No. 4. For all U.S. goods and services, Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 14 million American jobs. Click here to read the white paper.
GREEN LIGHT FOR USDA’S PORK SLAUGHTER MODERNIZATION RULE
At a pork industry meeting this week, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said its modernization of pork slaughter rule will move forward. NPPC supports the rule, which will increase efficiency of the federal inspection process, encourage adoption of new food safety technologies and increase plant capacity. The rule calls for certain food safety responsibilities to be shifted from federal inspectors to packing plant workers. Dan Kovich, deputy director of science and technology, represented NPPC at the USDA meeting and said the FSIS is expected to send the rule to the Office of Management and Budget soon as the next step in its implementation.
‘TPP 11’ AGREE TO CARRY ON, SET NOVEMBER DEADLINE FOR TALKS
Four months after the United States announced it would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the remaining 11 TPP countries agreed to “launch a process to assess options to bring the comprehensive, high-quality agreement into force expeditiously, including how to facilitate membership for the original signatories.” The countries agreed on a Nov. 10 deadline at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in Vietnam. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the TPP-11 effort wouldn’t draw the United States back to TPP and prioritized the need for bilateral negotiations. “TPP 11 can make their own decisions, and the United States makes it decisions,” he said.
IOWA GOVERNOR CONFIRMED AS U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad this week was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to China. The confirmation ends Branstad’s 22-year tenure as governor, the longest serving in U.S. history. Branstad eased through his confirmation process, drawing bipartisan support. President Trump nominated Branstad based on his experience on trade and agricultural issues and his long-standing relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds was sworn in as governor on Wednesday, following Branstad’s resignation.
NPPC FILES EXTENSION ON AIR EMISSIONS CASE, SENATORS WEIGH IN
NPPC on Monday sought an extension from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to file a motion seeking a re-hearing of an April 11 decision that would create a new requirement for livestock farms to report their air emissions. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association joined NPPC in filing for the extension. Previously, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a motion with the same court seeking an extension to request that the court delay issuing its final order, which would apply an emergency reporting requirement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to farms for day-to-day routine emissions from manure. If the court does not grant the requests, its ruling will likely become final on or about June 2, 2017, requiring livestock farmers to comply with emission reporting requirements. Also this week, 28 senators signed onto a letter, urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge the D.C. Circuit’s decision and to “provide America’s farmers and ranchers with regulatory relief through agency directive and rulemaking.” CERCLA is used to recover natural resources damages caused by hazardous substances; EPCRA is for use by state and local emergency responders when dealing with hazardous chemical releases. “Congress never imagined normal odors and emissions … of livestock, poultry, and egg production would somehow be captured” under the laws, the lawmakers wrote.
NPPC’S WAGSTROM PARTICIPATES IN OIE GENERAL SESSION
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom this week participated in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) general session in France. The session was attended by ministers, industry stakeholders and government representatives from OIE member countries. Topics covered at the meeting included official disease status for certain member countries and a proposal for an OIE global animal welfare strategy. Also in attendance as a delegate was past NPPC President Barb Determan, who serves as president-elect of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA). This winter, Determan was inducted into the NPPC Hall of Fame at its annual meeting in Atlanta.
Senate Passes Agro-Terrorism Legislation
“An attack on our nation’s food supply would cause irreparable damage,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., after the Senate unanimously passed legislation to bolster agro-terrorism preparedness and emergency response. The “Securing our Agriculture and Food Act” would require the Secretary of Homeland Security, through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, to lead the government’s efforts to secure our nation’s food, agriculture and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events. The bill now goes to the House, which approved a similar measure in late March.
TRUMP ADMINSTRATION RELEASES FISCAL 2018 BUDGET
The Trump administration on Tuesday released its fiscal 2018 budget to Congress. The proposed budget calls for a $38 billion cut to farm programs over 10 years, with the biggest cuts made to crop insurance programs. It seeks a $4.6 billion reduction in the USDA’s discretionary budget. NPPC expressed concern about some provisions of the budget proposal, including cuts to conservation and rural development programs, new user fees and elimination of funding for USDA’s Foreign Market Development and Market Access programs, which promote U.S. agricultural products overseas. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “Whatever form the final budget takes, it is my job as Secretary of Agriculture to manage and implement that plan while still fulfilling the core mission of the USDA.” House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., released a joint statement in reaction to the proposed budget: “As we debate the budget and the next Farm Bill,” the chairmen said, “we will fight to ensure farmers have a strong safety net so this key segment of our economy can weather current hard times and continue to provide all Americans with safe, affordable food.” During a Wednesday hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations, Perdue reiterated his support for new funding for a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank, NPPC’s top Farm Bill priority.
WORLD PORK EXPO JUNE 7-9
NPPC’s annual World Pork Expo will be held June 7-9 at the Iowa State fairgrounds in Des Moines. For more information about, and media registration for, the world’s largest pork industry trade show and exhibition, click here.