For the Week Ending September 30, 2022

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Mandatory Price Reporting Extended in Federal Funding Bill
The Senate and House approved legislation that funds federal programs, including the Mandatory Price Reporting program, through Dec. 16. President Biden was expected to sign into law the continuing resolution, which keeps the government running at current funding levels, before the start of fiscal 2023, which begins Oct. 1.

The price reporting program requires meatpackers to report to USDA the prices they pay for cattle, hogs, lambs, and other information. USDA uses the data to publish twice-daily reports with pricing information, contracting for purchase, supply and demand conditions for livestock, livestock production, and livestock product values.

NPPC strongly supports Mandatory Price Reporting and has been working with lawmakers to ensure there is no lapse in the reporting program, which pork producers rely on to make knowledgeable business decisions about selling their hogs.

USDA Proposes Rule on Buying, Selling Livestock
The Biden administration this week proposed a new regulation related to the buying and selling of livestock. According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, the “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules,” which would be part of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA), will “protect farmers and ranchers from abuse.” The regulation would:

  1. Prohibit certain prejudices and disadvantages against “market vulnerable individuals.”
  2. Prohibit retaliatory practices that interfere with lawful communications, assertion of rights, participation in associations, and other activities.
  3. Identify unlawfully deceptive practices that violate the PSA with respect to contract formation, contract performance, contract termination, and contract refusal.
  4. Require regulated entities to keep records, including policies and procedures, staff training and producer information materials, data and testing, and other materials, for the purpose of determining compliance with the rule.

The livestock regulation is the second of three USDA has proposed. Earlier, it issued one related to the poultry industry, and a third rule, related to livestock and poultry, will cover “unfair practices, undue preferences, and harm to competition.”

NPPC is reviewing a draft of the proposed regulation. There will be a 60-day public comment period once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

Read the Draft Rule.

Legislation Would Exclude Agriculture from SEC Reporting Rule
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) Thursday introduced a bill to prohibit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring publicly traded companies to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions from their partner companies, suppliers, and distributors if their activities arise from farming.

In March, the SEC proposed a regulation mandating such companies to report their carbon emissions and other climate-related data, as well as similar information from their “upstream” and “downstream” affiliates.

In May, NPPC met with senior SEC leadership about the so-called Climate Disclosures rule, raising concerns about the proposal, including its potential to expose farmers and ranchers to the risk of litigation and lead to further concentration in and integration of the pork industry.

In comments submitted to the agency in June, NPPC and 10 other agricultural groups requested that the SEC reconsider its application of burdensome and unnecessary climate disclosure requirements in the proposed rule. “As currently drafted,” the organizations said, “[the rule’s] requirements would overly burden American farmers, forcing them to take on costly and expensive reporting that will set back farm environmental performance, and would be in violation of federal law.”

Lucas’ ‘‘Protect Farmers from the SEC Act’’ and a companion Senate bill, which is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, would exclude agriculture from the disclosure regulation.

Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost U.S. Export Promotion Programs
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced legislation to increase funding for U.S. agriculture’s primary export promotion programs.

The “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports Act” would double the annual funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program, giving the former $400 million and the latter $69 million. The MAP and FMD annual funding levels haven’t increased since 2006 and 2002, respectively.

NPPC strongly supports both programs, which help boost sales of U.S. pork and other agricultural commodities in overseas markets.

Groups Ask That Food Security Be Part of Future Talks with Mexico
More than two dozen organizations representing U.S. food and agricultural producers and companies, including NPPC, this week urged the Biden administration to include food security in future High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) talks between the United States and Mexico.

In a letter to President Biden dated Sept. 27, the groups pointed out that HLED “provides an effective forum for promoting food security in our countries and tackling inflationary pressures.”

At the most recent HLED meeting, food security was addressed, and both countries emphasized the importance of facilitating bilateral trade and engaging in cooperative efforts to strengthen food security in North America. The United States is Mexico’s largest agricultural trading partner, buying 81% of Mexico’s farm exports and providing 70% of its agricultural imports.

“[W]e strong urge the U.S. government to engage Mexico in future HLED fora on the importance of resilient food and agriculture supply chains to address food security challenges in North America,” the organizations concluded.

Read the letter.

NPPC’s Forseth Presents on ASF at Women in Agribusiness Summit
Dr. Anna Forseth, NPPC’s director of animal health, this week presented on African swine fever (ASF) at the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Dallas, Texas. Forseth discussed the detection and spread of ASF in Hispaniola, efforts underway to prevent its spread, and the potential impacts of an ASF outbreak in the United States.

Paralleled with top-notch networking opportunities, the summit highlights the expertise of women in food and agribusiness and focuses on the most current and critical topics in the agriculture industry.

Find More Information on the Summit.

What’s Ahead

Cases Important to Agriculture to be Considered by Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2022-2023 term Monday, and two of the cases it will consider will be closely watched by U.S. agriculture, particularly NPPC.

The most important for pork producers is NPPC vs. Ross, the case against California’s Proposition 12, which bans the sale in California of pork from hogs born to sows raised in pens anywhere that do not comply with the state’s prescriptive animal housing standards.

NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation on Oct. 11 will present to the Supreme Court oral arguments that California’s 2018 ballot measure violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which grants Congress the power to regulate trade among the states and restricts states from regulating commerce outside their borders. Because more than 99% of the country’s sows live outside of California and the state accounts for nearly 15% of the domestic pork market, Proposition 12 would have the effect of dictating the pork production practices of hog farmers in other states.

The other case, Sackett vs. Environmental Protection Agency, involves “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and EPA’s jurisdiction over private lands that contain “wetlands.” The Sacketts, who want to build on land they own in Idaho, are asking the Supreme Court to clarify EPA’s authority by adopting a test — proposed by four of the justices in a 2006 case — that would subject wetlands to regulation only if they have a “continuous surface water connection to regulated waters.”

EPA previously proposed, and may do so again, a broad definition of WOTUS — “regulated waters” — to include upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also would have covered lands adjacent to such waters.

NPPC, which has led efforts to oppose activists’ attempts to expand the reach of WOTUS, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Sacketts.

Read NPPC’s Proposition 12 Brief.
Read NPPC’s Sackett Brief.