For the Week Ending August 20, 2021

August 20, 2021

REP. BUSTOS VISITS ILLINOIS HOG FARM; TAX, LABOR REFORM DISCUSSED
On Friday, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) visited with Illinois hog farmers and Illinois Pork Producers Association Executive Director Jennifer Tirey to discuss the upcoming budget reconciliation package and potential areas of concern to pork producers. During the congresswoman’s visit to Zehr Farms, producers shared concerns with the possible elimination of the “step-up in basis,” as well as a new capital gains tax event at death. NPPC opposes elimination of the step up in basis, as it would significantly reduce the appeal of farming and put many generational family farms out of business. Producers also discussed the need to reform the H-2A visa program, noting the severe shortfalls in available domestic labor. A recently updated Iowa State University study found that despite competitive wages and an expanding workforce, the U.S. pork industry continues to struggle with a labor shortage. NPPC is urging Congress to provide year-round access to the H-2A visa program without a cap. Learn more here

USDA HOLDING ASF EDUCATION WEBINARS NEXT MONTH
Next month, USDA’s Animal and Health Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) is hosting African Swine Fever (ASF) Action Week to highlight prevention and preparedness efforts. Each day during ASF Action Week—Sept. 13-17—the agency will hold webinars for stakeholders to learn more about ASF’s global spread, APHIS’ actions to safeguard the country and biosecurity measures pork producers can take to protect the U.S. herd. To register or learn more about the webinars click here. For additional information on ASF biosecurity, please visit here

U.S., ECUADOR MINI TRADE DEAL IN EFFECT
The mini trade between the United States and Ecuador went into effect last week, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced. The agreement, signed in December 2020, includes four annexes: trade facilitation and customs administration, good regulatory practices, anti-corruption, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While in Ecuador last week, USTR officials and the Ecuador Ministry of Production, Trade, Investment and Fisheries also held meetings on a number of trade and investment-related issues, including environment, labor, trade in agriculture products, and cooperation on the challenges faced by SMEs. Specifically on agriculture, the countries “agreed to maintain a constant dialogue in order to develop a road map to strengthen trade flows and contribute to the development of the new agricultural policy of Ecuador.” Enhanced access to Ecuador is among NPPC’s top near-term export market priorities. The country has a significant protein preference for pork and has been struggling with numerous swine diseases in its domestic herd. Unfortunately, tariff and non-tariff barriers significantly limit U.S. pork exports to Ecuador.