For the Week Ending September 15, 2017
U.S. PORK PRODUCERS FLY-IN TO WASHINGTON
NPPC this week held its fall Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., with about 125 pork producers from 22 states attending the biannual fly-in to meet with their congressional representatives. The U.S. pork representatives advocated on these issues: the importance of maintaining existing free trade agreements such as NAFTA and KORUS and establishing new trade agreements with Japan and other countries; the need for federal funding for an FMD vaccine bank; support for H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act,” which would prevent states from regulating beyond their borders; and the need for visa reform to address the industry’s labor shortage. The ever-popular NPPC Congressional “Bacon Fest” drew another large crowd of pork producers, members of Congress and staffers eager to enjoy the world’s #1 protein.
MEDIA SPECULATES ON IMPACT OF U.S. PRODUCE PROTECTIONS IN NAFTA RENEGOTIATION
According to a Reuters report today, Mexico is exploring the possibility of protections for certain agriculture products, including pork, should the U.S. pursue protections for seasonal fruits and vegetables. During NPPC’s post fly-in media briefing on Thursday, Agri-Pulse editor, Spencer Chase, asked Nick Giordano if U.S. pork had any concerns about the produce industry’s interest in NAFTA provisions that would make it easier to bring anti-dumping cases against Mexico. Giordano responded: “There are a lot of us in agriculture that are very uncomfortable with that ask. If we’re going to tweak our rules, Mexico can follow suit, which could affect beef, poultry, fruits, vegetables, and more. We don’t want the U.S. government to do something that’s going to come back and hurt a lot of us who depend on North American trade.”
NPPC SEEKS WAIVER FROM TRUCKING MANDATE
NPPC this week asked for a waiver and exemption for livestock haulers from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. In a petition delivered to the office of DOT Sec. Elaine Chao, which was filed on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and other livestock sectors, NPPC asked for a waiver and exemption from a mandate requiring all commercial truckers to use electronic logging devices (ELD) based on the potential negative impact on animal well-being. NPPC also asked the agency to address incompatibilities between the transportation of livestock and DOT’s hours of service rules. Those regulations limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time. NPPC and other livestock groups also are supporting language included in the transportation fiscal 2018 funding bill that would delay the ELD mandate for one year for livestock haulers.
NEXT STEPS ON KORUS UNCLEAR
South Korea’s ambassador to the United States this week said that a date for and the scope of a second round of talks addressing the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, known as KORUS, have not been determined. The Korean ambassador, Ahn Ho-Young, said in response to questions about the possibility of a full-blown renegotiation, “We had only the first round, so let us see how it goes.” The White House said President Trump is going through “a normal review process” and indicated an announcement on the agreement was not imminent. NPPC continues to urge the administration to maintain the benefits realized by U.S. pork through KORUS. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, if KORUS is terminated, live hog prices would fall by 3.8 percent, or $4.71 per animal, and the United States would lose the South Korean pork market to the European Union, Chile and other countries with preferential trade access. Korea is the U.S. pork industry’s fifth largest export market.
EU PURSUING FREE TRADE WITH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
The European Union this week published proposals for establishing free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand by 2019. With the EU as U.S. pork’s biggest competitor, NPPC continues to urge the administration to explore bilateral trade agreements with other countries, beginning with Japan, to ensure that the U.S. pork industry remains globally competitive.
NPPC CHIEF VETERINARIAN PARTICIPATES IN ANTIBIOTIC MEETINGS
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom participated this week in a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). At the meeting, held in Washington, D.C., veterinarians and animal health manufacturers focused on incentive reporting for the development of diagnostics, vaccines and new therapeutic products.
NPPC SUPPORTS NORTHEY AND IBACH USDA NOMINATIONS
NPPC was a signatory to a letter this week supporting the USDA appointments of Bill Northey as Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation and Gregory Ibach as Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Currently, Northey is secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and Ibach is director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Noting their long-standing commitment and diverse industry experiences, the letter addressed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry urged swift advancement of the nominations.
ON-FARM SWINE WELFARE AUDITOR COURSE SET
The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) will hold a course for potential swine auditors at South Dakota State University’s Swine Education and Research Center Sept. 21-22. Registration ends Sept. 15. The certification course is designed to train potential swine farm auditors in using the National Pork Board’s Common Swine Industry Audit. For more information on the course or to register, contact Collette Kaster, PAACO executive director, at email@example.com, or (402) 403-0104.