For the Week Ending January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

NPPC LAUNCHES ‘FARMING TODAY FOR TOMORROW’ CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITMENT
On Wednesday, NPPC launched a multimedia campaign, “Farming Today for Tomorrow,” to showcase U.S. pork producers’ long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The campaign features interviews with pork producers discussing on-farm efforts to reduce their environmental footprint, including the use of renewable natural gas to power facilities, hog manure to fertilize the land and precise nutrient farming to ensure fertilizer is only used where it’s needed. The campaign has received extensive media coverage. “We welcome being part of that conversation to showcase what we are doing. Because whether it is now, in the past, or in the future, it is very important. We all care about land and water,” NPPC board member and Minnesota pork producer Lori Stevermer told Brownfield. NPPC Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica was a guest on “Adams on Agriculture” this week, highlighting the campaign and producer commitment to the environment. “Pork producers for 50 years or more have been incredibly progressive in leading the world” on environmental sustainability, he said. Read more about the campaign here

USDA ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL COVID ASSISTANCE FOR PORK SECTOR
On Friday, USDA unveiled additional assistance to certain pork producers and contract growers as part of the first two rounds of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The direct final rule is effective Tuesday, Jan. 19. As part of CFAP 1, additional payments are provided for hog and pig inventory owned between April 16, 2020-May 14, 2020, based on a rate of $17 per head. This results in a total CFAP payment rate of $34 per head. Eligible producers do not need to submit a new application or take any action. As part of CFAP 2, for eligible contract pork producers, payments will be designed to cover 80 percent of their pandemic-related revenue losses. A $250,000 payment limitation remain in effect for each round of CFAP. CFAP sign-ups begin Jan. 19, through Feb. 26. For more information, read NPPC’s summary here.

NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON PROPOSED USDA RULE FOR GENE-EDITED LIVESTOCK
Establishing USDA as the primary regulatory authority over gene-edited livestock “will foster innovation, allow for producer access to this technology, and preserve the preeminence of American agriculture globally,” NPPC wrote in comments submitted Wednesday to the agency. In late December, USDA announced a proposed rule for the agency to have primary jurisdiction over the emerging technology. NPPC was the leading advocate for USDA regulatory oversight over the last two years when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was claiming jurisdiction. In public comments earlier this week, the current FDA commissioner said he would refuse to sign the memorandum of understanding between the FDA and USDA addressing gene-edited livestock. “The USDA has put forward an open and transparent process to establish regulatory certainty surrounding a promising technology,” said NPPC President Howard “A.V.” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin.  “We are disappointed that the FDA continues to engage in delay tactics that are holding back U.S. agriculture. U.S. pork producers are dedicated to rigorous, science-based policies to ensure food safety for all consumers.” Read NPPC’s full statement here.  

BIDEN NOMINATES JANET MCCABE AS DEPUTY EPA ADMINISTRATOR
On Friday, President-Elect Joe Biden nominated Janet McCabe to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. McCabe is no stranger to the agency. She joined EPA in November 2009 as principal deputy to the assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) and served as OAR’s acting assistant administrator from July 2013 through January 2017, where she oversaw the agency’s work on important issues for pork producers, including the review and evaluation of data collected under the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS). She is currently serving as a professor of Practice at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law and director of the IU Environmental Resilience Institute. NPPC congratulates McCabe on her nomination and looks forward to working with her and EPA Administrator-designate Michael Regan on issues of importance to U.S. pork producers. 

NPPC PARTICIPATES IN ROUNDTABLE WITH USTR NOMINEE KATHERINE TAI
On Wednesday, NPPC Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano and 21 other officials of the Ag CEO Council held a virtual roundtable with U.S. Trade Representative-designate Katherine Tai. During the meeting, the group discussed “agriculture and trade policy, the incoming administration’s top trade priorities, and opportunities to work together to pursue a smart, sustainable trade agenda that supports farmers and the agriculture industry,” according to a summary posted on the president-elect’s website. During the call, Giordano discussed a number of important trade priorities for U.S. pork producers, including re-joining the CPTPP, removing retaliatory tariff and non-tariff barriers in China and expanding market access in The Philippines and Vietnam. NPPC looks forward to working with Tai on these and other issues of importance to U.S. pork producers. 

NPPC COURT FILING: CALIFORNIA’S PROPOSITION 12 WILL RESULT IN ‘SUBSTANTIAL COSTS’ 
In a U.S. appeals court brief filed Thursday, NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation emphasized that California’s Proposition 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by imposing arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of the state’s borders to farms across the country. “Essentially all—99.8%—of the pork Californians consume is imported from out of state. Hundreds of thousands of out-of-state pigs are needed to supply that pork every year. And every pig from which any cut of pork reaches California necessarily bears Proposition 12’s substantial costs, meaning that farmers and consumers everywhere pay for California’s preferred animal-housing methods,” the joint filing explained. “The blow to out-of-state farmers will be severe, with some certainly going out of business,” the filing added. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 requires all sows producing pork for the California market to be raised according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. In December 2019, NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the court to strike California’s Proposition 12 as invalid. That lawsuit is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. NPPC anticipates oral arguments in the case this spring. A copy of the court filing is available here.  

NPPC PARTICIPATES IN ASF TRAINING EXERCISE
This week, NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom participated in the first of three planned training exercises this year to prepare in the event of an African swine fever outbreak in the country. The exercise, conducted by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), focused on policy, including identifying current policy that would pertain to pork packers during an outbreak (either on a farm or processing plant) and addressing policy gaps. Future training exercises will focus on response plan development and a simulated outbreak scenario. Representatives from meat packers, APHIS and state animal health officials also participated in this week’s training. NPPC continues to work closely with the federal government on ASF prevention.  

AG GROUPS SUBMIT JOINT COMMENTS ON EPA DRAFT NPDES PERMIT REGULATION
This week, NPPC and 12 other agriculture trade associations submitted comments on EPA’s draft guidance on regulating National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting and groundwater after a recent Supreme Court decision. “[T]he undersigned organizations generally support EPA’s draft guidance….The draft guidance reinforces important threshold requirements that must be satisfied before the need for an NPDES permit is triggered. And based on its decades of experience administering and enforcing the Clean Water Act, EPA reasonably concludes that only a small percentage of overall NPDES permits will continue to be issued for discharges that indirectly reach waters of the U.S. via groundwater,” the groups explained. The Supreme Court Case (County of Maui vs Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al.) involved whether the Clean Water Act required a permit whenever pollutants originated from a point source, but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source such as groundwater and is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge to the navigable water. In 2019, NPPC filed a friend of the court brief supporting Maui County. NPPC and the agriculture community want to ensure that the final guidance is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision and protects the long-standing stormwater protections afforded to farmers by the Clean Water Act. A copy of the groups’ comments to EPA can be viewed here

SOUTH KOREA SUPPORTS JOINING CPTPP
This week, South Korea indicated interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In a press release, the government issued a statement in support of the agreement, while pursuing revisions to certain regulations to meet CPTPP requirements, including the areas of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The CPTPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, some of the world’s largest pork-consuming nations. One of NPPC’s top priorities this year is for the U.S to re-join CPTPP, which would provide significant, new market opportunities for U.S. exporters.