For the Week Ending November 3, 2017
NPPC URGES CONGRESS TO ENHANCE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH FUNDING
NPPC’s Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian, in testimony to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology this week urged Congress to renew its commitment to funding agricultural research to help America’s farmers feed a growing world population, improve public health and strengthen U.S. national security by ensuring America’s food security. Wagstrom said research has helped the U.S. pork industry deal with diseases such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome and remains critical if the United States is to be ready to effectively address foreign animal diseases such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). NPPC is urging Congress to establish and fund, through the next Farm Bill, an FMD vaccine bank and is requesting funds for animal disease diagnostics and research that “can help address the alarming gap in the government’s preparedness for an FMD outbreak.” NPPC strongly supports and urges a significant increase in funding for federal agricultural research.
U.S. PORK REPRESENTED ON NAFTA PANEL
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week hosted The Future of NAFTA: The Stakes for American Agriculture and Business, an event featuring past NPPC president Randy Spronk, who represented the U.S. pork industry during a panel discussion that also included Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes. Following remarks by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the panel discussion highlighted the considerable harm a NAFTA termination would cause. In his remarks, Spronk said, “If the administration follows through on its threats to withdraw from NAFTA, the giant sucking sound would be the air going out of the economy of rural America as farmers and ranchers take a major financial hit.” Official renegotiation talks on the agreement are scheduled to resume Nov. 17 in Mexico City, with additional rounds extending into next year. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to remain committed to NAFTA and to maintain zero-duty market access for pork exports to Canada and Mexico. A U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA would cost the U.S. pork industry $1.5 billion.
REGIONAL TRADE ALLIANCES CONTINUE TO BUILD MOMENTUM
As the United States focuses on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, regional trade alliances are building momentum as Japan’s economic revitalization minister vowed this week to take the lead on advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The United States exited the TPP in early 2017. The leaders of the 11 remaining countries are to meet this month during the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) meeting. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to explore bilateral free trade agreements with other countries, beginning with Japan.
NPPC BACKS U.S. MARKET ACCESSS TO INDIA
USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs Ted McKinney this week is leading an agribusiness trade mission to India in an effort to increase U.S. agricultural export levels there; India’s market is closed to U.S. pork exports. NPPC has been working for many years to level the playing field by eliminating non-scientific trade barriers on U.S. pork imports in India, which currently benefits from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a U.S. preferential trade program providing duty-free access to countries shipping goods to the United States.
NPPC REQUESTS EXEMPTION FROM ELD REGULATIONS FOR LIVESTOCK HAULERS
NPPC this week asked the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for a livestock exemption to a regulation requiring all commercial truck drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record hours-of-service (HOS). The new rule is to take effect on Dec. 18, 2017. NPPC has requested the exemption on the grounds that the FMCSA’s HOS rules are not currently compatible with the animal welfare protocols of livestock haulers. FMCSA is now accepting public comment on NPPC’s application for exemption. Comments are due on or before Nov. 30, 2017.
NPPC, U.S. POULTRY AND EGG ASSOCIATION TEAM UP TO REDRAFT FIRE CODE
NPPC and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association last week hosted poultry and swine farm tours in Raleigh, N.C., before participating in a meeting with the animal housing committee of the National Fire Protection Association. The association is drafting fire code guidelines related to animal housing. The organizations successfully addressed efforts by animal rights activist groups to impose unwarranted language in the fire code that would establish restrictions on sow stalls, limit the size of barns to 8,000 square feet and impose onerous requirements for maximum travel distance to exits, requiring significant barn redesign. An effort to include a requirement for mandatory methane and hydrogen sulfide monitors and control technologies in barns was also defeated.
HEARING SET ON MEASURE TO PROTECT FARMERS FROM ‘CITIZEN LAWSUITS’
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment next Thursday will hold a hearing on a “discussion draft” bill that would protect farmers from citizen lawsuits related to solid waste such as manure. The legislation – the “Farm Regulatory Certainty Act” – sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., would amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to prohibit third-party citizen suits against an agricultural operation related to manure or crop residue that is stored or returned to the soil as fertilizer or soil conditioner if the state or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already is working with the operation through a civil, criminal or administrative action to address identified problems. NPPC supports the measure.
U.S. AG CENSUS ON THE HORIZON
American farmers and ranchers, including U.S. pork producers, will soon receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The questionnaire, distributed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), can be returned via mail or by online submission forms. All submissions are due Feb. 5, 2018.