For the Week Ending May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022

SEC EXTENDS COMMENT PERIOD ON CLIMATE REPORTING PROPOSAL
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday extended to June 17 the comment period on its proposed regulation mandating that publicly-traded companies report on their carbon emissions and other climate-related data and on similar information from partner companies, suppliers, and distributors. The SEC responded to an NPPC-led letter signed by 119 other agricultural organizations asking for additional time to review and comment on the proposed regulation, noting that farmers were not normally regulated by the agency and needed to understand the implications of the rule. Last week, NPPC met with senior SEC leadership about the Climate Disclosures rule, requesting the comment period extension and 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 late March, the SEC voted to advance the regulation, publishing the more than 500-page proposal in the April 11 Federal Register, with a comment period set to end May 20. The regulation would require publicly-traded companies to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, climate goals, and potentially sensitive company data, as well as similar information from any companies with which they do business.

LAWMAKERS WANT U.S. TO GET MARKET ACCESS COMMITMENTS FROM COUNTRIES
Two dozen Senate Republicans this week urged the Biden administration to negotiate market access commitments, particularly for U.S. agriculture, from countries with which it is having trade talks. In a May 9 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the 24 senators expressed concern that the administration “is foregoing America’s trade and strategic leadership by failing to pursue such commitments, whether through its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) or through its decision not to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements.” The senators, most of whom serve on the committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and/or Finance, pointed out that “opening new markets for customers, reducing barriers for business, and enforcing robust trade agreements are cornerstones of our national prosperity.” NPPC also has been urging the White House to pursue a more ambitious IPEF, one that includes agricultural market access, and to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. goods, including pork, significantly boosting exports and creating American jobs.

LIVESTOCK GROUPS SUPPORT BILL TO INCREASE MEATPACKING CAPACITY
Livestock organizations, including NPPC, this week threw their support behind legislation that would allow livestock auction market owners to invest in or own small and medium meatpacking operations. In a letter sent Thursday to the leadership of the agriculture committees in the Senate and House, NPPC, the American Sheep Industry Association, the Livestock Marketing Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the United States Cattlemen’s Association asked that the “Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States,” or A-PLUS Act (H.R. 7438) be considered and advanced. The livestock groups noted that supply chain challenges and a lack of packing capacity have negatively affected consumers and producers. To remedy that, livestock auction owners have expressed interest in getting involved in the meatpacking business. But the Packers and Stockyards Act prohibits owning both an auction company and a packing firm or a meat marketing business based on decades-old concerns about the transparency of livestock transactions. Now, however, livestock are sold at open auctions where sellers can view transactions in person or online. (Very few hogs are sold through auctions.) The A-PLUS Act would allow investments in processors harvesting less than 2,000 head per day or 700,000 head a year, reflecting the size of processing in the beef industry. NPPC will support an amendment to the bill with a proportionate number based on current daily and annual pork processing.

NPPC HAS CONCERNS OVER EU RESTRICTIONS ON ADDITIONAL ANTIMICROBIALS
NPPC is asking USDA to discourage the European Union from expanding its regulation of antimicrobials that cannot be used in veterinary medicine and to withdraw a draft list of additional antimicrobials that would be restricted even though none currently are used in food animals. In comments this week to USDA, NPPC said it has concerns that the EU regulation could conflict with the Common Market’s obligations under the World Trade Organization to accept standards set by the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-safety standard-setting body. The organization noted that while the antimicrobials on the draft list do not have Codex-established Maximum Residue Limits – the acceptable level of veterinary drug residue in a food product from an animal – if the EU added compounds that were reviewed by the commission, some could be in conflict with those internationally recognized standards.

NPPC PARTICIPATES IN SWINE HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PLAN MEETINGS
NPPC’s Drs. Liz Wagstrom and Anna Forseth recently participated in working group meetings of the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan (USSHIP), a pilot project sponsored by USDA’s Veterinary Services to implement an African Swine Fever (ASF)-Classical Swine Fever (CSF) Monitored Certification of U.S. pork production operations. Wagstrom, NPPC’s chief veterinarian, was on the group focused on feed biosecurity, while Foresth participated on the one looking at farm biosecurity. The working groups will make recommendations to the USSHIP House of Delegates – producers, packers, veterinarians, and other stakeholders – during the annual meeting this September in Bloomington, Minnesota. USSHIP’s ultimate goal is to establish technical standards and certifications recognized by participating states that center on preventing diseases and demonstrating freedom from disease, outside of control areas, in support of animal health, domestic commerce, and international trade.

NPPC REPRESENTATIVES HELP CELEBRATE 10 YEARS OF U.S.-COLOMBIA TRADE
NPPC President-elect Scott Hays and Assistant Vice President of International Affairs Maria Zieba this week participated in an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Zieba was on a panel that looked at the opportunities in both countries that agribusinesses have had since the FTA went into force May 15, 2012. Sponsored by the Washington International Trade Association, the event also included an evening reception with Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno, Colombia’s ambassador to the United States, as well as with Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez and Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Maria Ximena Lombana. In attendance for NPPC were President Terry Wolters, Hays, Zieba, Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano, and Trachelle Carr, the organization’s international technical services specialist.

WHAT’S AHEAD

WORLD PORK EXPO SET FOR JUNE 8-10
NPPC’s annual World Pork Expo will be held June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information about and to register for the world’s largest pork industry trade show and exhibition, click here.