For the Week Ending January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009

Washington, January 16, 2009 


The Bush administration, with input from NPPC, Thursday decided to keep certain pork cuts on, and to add new ones to, the list of European Union products against which the U.S. retaliates for the EU’s illegal ban on U.S. beef imports. The retaliation is a 100 percent tariff on listed products. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that fresh and frozen hams, shoulders and some other cuts will remain on the retaliation list the United States first initiated in 1999. Added to the list are pork ribs from Finland, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. USTR also expanded the retaliation on bone-in dried and smoked hams and shoulders from France to all EU countries except the United Kingdom. In comments submitted to USTR in December, NPPC urged that pork products continue to be included as part of the retaliation, which commenced after a World Trade Organization panel found that the EU ban on imports of U.S. beef from cattle treated with hormones was illegal under WTO rules. The EU refused to end the ban, and the WTO authorized the U.S. to retaliate by raising import duties on $116.8 million of EU products.


USDA Tuesday issued a proposed rule that would make changes to the National Animal Identification System, including adding a requirement that official animal identification tags used for disease programs include a premises identification number (PIN). The main goal of the NAIS is the ability to trace back animals to their farm of origin within 48 hours in case of an animal disease. NPPC supports a mandatory NAIS and has requested that packers require PINs as a condition of sale. The organization will urge the incoming Obama administration to make the NAIS mandatory for all relevant species. NPPC and the National Pork Board have been working for more than three years to register swine premises. Through 2008, about 54,000, or 80 percent, of the estimated 67,300 hog farms had been registered. The two organizations in 2005 formed a Swine Identification Implementation Task Force made up of producers and other industry stakeholders to enhance the existing swine ID system, which was set up in 1988 and used successfully to eradicate pseudorabies from the commercial herd.


Large pork operations – those with 2,500 head or more of finishing swine – are being urged to call their state and local emergency response authorities to begin the reporting process under the Environmental Protection and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA) covering air emissions from farms. Under EPA regulations, large CAFOs that emit 100 pounds or more of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide during any 24-hour period must file by initially making a telephone call to the emergency response authorities and then following up with a written report must be submitted within 30 days of the call. Failure to report may subject producers to severe penalties of $25,000 per day. Producers who signed the EPA Air Consent Agreement need not submit reports until a National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS) is completed on or about Jan. 1, 2010. Smaller swine operations – those below the 2,500 threshold – are not required to submit notifications. For more information, visit


The American Veterinary Medical Association recently amended its policy on antimicrobial use in livestock feed, reinforcing the need to base regulatory decisions regarding antimicrobial use on science-based risk analyses. The new policy emphasizes the important role of veterinarians in antimicrobial decisions and recognizes the necessity of establishing a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship. It also urges veterinarians to continually assess and critically review the uses of antimicrobials in livestock feed and recommends that veterinarians consider preventative practices to minimize the need for antimicrobials. The policy amendments were proposed by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, which was represented at the Jan. 9-11 AVMA house of delegates meeting by Dr. Bill Hollis and Dr. Jen Greiner, NPPC’s director of Science and Technology.


House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson this week announced the members selected to serve on the House Agriculture Committee for the 111th Congress. The panel includes 14 freshmen* and two other members new to the committee.

The 28 Democrats are:
Chairman Peterson of Minnesota
Tim Holden of Pennsylvania
Mike McIntyre of North Carolina
Leonard Boswell of Iowa
Joe Baca of California
Dennis Cardoza of California
David Scott of Georgia
Jim Marshall of Georgia
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota
Henry Cuellar of Texas
Jim Costa of California
Brad Ellsworth of Indiana
Timothy Walz of Minnesota
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Steve Kagen of Wisconsin
*Kurt Schrader of Oregon
*Deborah Halvorson of Illinois
*Kathleen Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania
*Eric Massa of New York
*Bobby Bright of Alabama
*Betsy Markey of Colorado
*Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland
*Mark Schauer of Michigan
*Larry Kissell of North Carolina
*John Boccieri of Ohio
Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota
Travis W. Childers of Mississippi
*Walt Minnick of Idaho

The 16 Republicans – there’s one vacant seat – who will serve on the panel are:
Ranking Member Frank Lucas of Oklahoma
Bob Goodlatte of Virginia
Jerry Moran of Kansas
Timothy Johnson of Illinois
Sam Graves of Missouri
Mike Rogers of Alabama
Steve King of Iowa
Randy Neugebauer of Texas
Virginia Foxx of North Carolina
K. Michael Conaway of Texas
Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska
Jean Schmidt of Ohio
Adrian Smith of Nebraska
Robert Latta of Ohio
*Phil Roe of Tennessee
*Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri
*Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania

The House Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over a wide range of agriculture and rural development issues, including renewable energy, disaster assistance, nutrition, crop insurance, conservation, international trade, futures market regulation, animal and plant health, agricultural research, bioterrorism and forestry. Among the subcommittees of concern to NPPC and pork producers, the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry will be chaired by Rep. Scott and the one on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management by Rep. Boswell.


A confirmation hearing was held this week for former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, D, on his nomination to be the next Secretary of Agriculture. During the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Vilsack said he would work with Congress to implement the 2008 Farm Bill. He said farm programs could serve as an engine of economic growth and that USDA could help create jobs in biofuels and nutrition programs. Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said he would ask for a vote next Tuesday on Vilsack’s confirmation as agriculture secretary.


USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing a voluntary standard for a naturally raised marketing claim that livestock producers may request to have verified by USDA. The standard incorporates revisions made as a result of comments received from an earlier proposed standard. A number of livestock producers make claims associated with production practices to distinguish their products in the marketplace, and there are a growing number of entities that are capturing value-added opportunities by using alternative production methods to meet the demands of consumers and markets seeking meat and meat products from naturally raised livestock. The voluntary standard will allow livestock producers to utilize AMS’ voluntary, third party verification services to provide validity to such naturally raised livestock claims and, in certain cases, access to markets that require AMS verification. AMS verification of this claim would be accomplished through an audit of the production process.


The Food and Drug Administration Thursday issued a final guidance for genetically engineered animals, clarifying the statutory and regulatory authority and providing recommendations to producers of GE animals to help them meet their obligations and responsibilities under the law. The guidance will help the FDA efficiently review applications for products from GE animals to ensure their safety and efficacy. In comments on FDA’s draft guidance submitted in mid-November, NPPC urge the agency to work to guarantee that the public is well-informed about the safety of individual GE animal-derived food and drug products as they enter the marketplace and that the process to approve GE animals and technologies is conducted with maximum transparency to industry stakeholders. The development of GE animals promises to provide compelling benefits and may allow the U.S. to make significant advances in healthcare, human nutrition, animal welfare, food production and the environment, NPPC pointed out. Development of GE animals may also increase the value and quality of pork products and the competitiveness and profitability of the U.S. pork and livestock industries.



House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has set a goal of passing a “comprehensive” climate change and energy bill by Memorial Day. The measure likely will require power plants, petroleum refineries and other industries, including livestock operations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Agency has proposed setting mandatory standards for greenhouse gas emissions – thought to be the principle cause of “climate change” – under the Clean Air Act. In comments submitted in late November, NPPC pointed out that animal agriculture has been successful in reducing such emissions without the imposition of mandatory standards, which could instead stifle further innovation by pork producers and the industry’s efforts to reduce costs and increase profitability.