For the Week Ending May 3, 2019
USDA EXTENDS MARKET FACILITATION PROGRAM CERTIFICATE DEADLINE
Producers now have until May 17 to certify 2018 production as part of USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP). The original deadline was set for May 1, but the deadline was extended because heavy rainfall and snowfall have delayed harvests in many parts of the country, preventing producers from certifying acres. MFP, launched last year to help producers suffering from damages due to unjustified trade retaliation, provides direct payments to help hog, corn, cotton, sorghum, soybean, wheat and dairy producers who have been directly impacted by retaliatory tariffs. For hog producers, the MFP direct payments are $8.00 per head, capped at $125,000 per entity for combined dairy production and hogs. Producers who enrolled in the program must certify their 2018 production at their local Farm Service Agency office. To learn more about MFP, click here.
NPPC ATTENDS OTTAWA AFRICAN SWINE FEVER FORUM
NPPC CEO Neil Dierks spoke at an international ASF Forum this week in Ottawa, which also included Greg Ibach, undersecretary of Agriculture at USDA. The two-day forum was planned by both the U.S. and Canadian governments and discussion focused on four issues: preparedness/planning, enhanced biosecurity, ensuring business continuity and coordinated risk communication. In his comments, Dierks urged all stakeholders to consider those “on the ground,” including producers/packers and others who are critical to preventing or responding to ASF. Planning is critical, but people on the ground must be included in discussions, he explained. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom also attended the event.
NPPC MEETS WITH OMB ON ANIMAL WASTE REPORTING EMISSIONS PROPOSAL
On Wednesday, NPPC Assistant Vice President of Domestic Affairs & Counsel Michael Formica met with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that would amend the emergency release notification regulations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to make clear that reporting of air emission from animal waste at farms is not required under the program. In the meeting, Formica explained the burden that emissions reporting would create for farmers and outlined how the proposal would provide much-needed certainty for the agriculture sector. OMB estimates that the final EPA rule will be issued later this month.
COMPANION BILL FILED ON LIVESTOCK HAULING WORKING GROUP
On Wednesday, House Agriculture Chairman Colin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.) introduced the Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act (H.R. 2460) in the House of Representatives. It establishes a working group at the Department of Transportation, tasked to deliver an action plan within one year for reforms that support the safe, humane transportation of agricultural commodities, including pigs. NPPC strongly supports the legislation, and was instrumental in its development, which is a companion bill to S. 600, introduced in late February by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). NPPC continues to push for numerous changes to livestock hauling rules, including expanded driving time for livestock haulers to the entire 14-hour on-duty period and flexibility for adverse conditions encountered while livestock are in transit.
CHINA NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE
This week, U.S. and Chinese negotiators met again to resolve the ongoing trade dispute that has disproportionality affected U.S. pork exports. Reports suggest U.S. representatives believe they are close to finalizing a deal with China, the largest consumer and importer of pork in the world. China has placed a 50% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork on top of the existing 12% duty. NPPC continues to advocate aggressively for an end to trade disputes with China and Mexico, the ratification of USMCA and for the swift completion of a trade agreement with Japan.
U.S. PORK EAGER TO GAIN ACCESS TO INDIA
Market access for pork and many other U.S. products are tied to discussions regarding India’s eligibility to continue as a beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The U.S. has indicated that it will terminate India’s GSP beneficiary status on May 4 because that nation does not provide reciprocal market access for U.S. products. The Trump administration is considering an extension of the May 4 deadline because of the elections in India. In addition, the Trump administration is now also considering a case to remedy unfair Indian trade practices through Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 because of that nation’s failure to provide reciprocal market access for U.S. products. NPPC will continue to push for India to drop its de facto ban on U.S. pork and to fully open its market to U.S. pork.