For the Week Ending May 29, 2009

May 29, 2009

Washington, May 29, 2009 


The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week announced a second round of listening sessions on a mandatory national animal identification system. NPPC will have producers participating at sessions in Missouri and North Carolina. The organization previously had representatives give comments at sessions in Texas and Kentucky. The U.S. pork industry has been a strong supporter of a mandatory animal ID system. In 1988, it established a swine ID system, which helped eradicate pseudorabies from the commercial herd. It since has enhanced its system – and made it consistent with USDA’s National Animal Identification System – by registering swine premises and asking pork packers to require premises registration as a condition of sale. NPPC and the National Pork Board have registered more than 54,000, or 80 percent, of the estimated 67,300 hog farms. Premises registration data includes the physical location of a farm, a contact telephone number and other publicly available information. Testifying in March in support of a mandatory animal ID system, NPPC President Don Butler told the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry that such a system would:

-Provide U.S. pork producers and federal and state animal health officials with improved tools to manage    swine herd health through disease surveillance, control and eradication programs.

-Enable U.S. pork producers to maintain and promote access to international markets, which are critical to the continued viability of the pork industry.

-Strengthen the security of the nation’s livestock industry, especially in the event of an intentional introduction of a pathogen or toxin that could affect animal health.

Following are the locations and dates for upcoming listening sessions:

Jefferson City, Mo. – June 9
Rapid City, S.D. – June 11
Albuquerque, N.M. – June 16
Riverside, Calif. – June 18
Raleigh, N.C. – June 25
Jasper, Fla. – June 27



U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk this week said he will ask Russia to lift its ban on U.S. pork products at a meeting next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, with Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina. Russia banned the importation of U.S. pork products in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak. Lifting restrictions on U.S. pork exports has been a top priority of the Obama administration since countries imposed them in the wake of inaccurate reports that the flu outbreak was from swine. The administration – and NPPC – consistently has said pork is safe to eat and the H1N1 flu cannot be transmitted through the handling or consumption of pork. “Bans on U.S. meat by more than a dozen countries following the outbreak of the new flu virus are unfair and have jeopardized as much as $900 million in annual U.S. exports,” Kirk said recently. “Russia is restricting U.S. meat trade with measures not based on international standards.” Russia is one of the largest importers of U.S. pork, with $476 million in U.S. pork exports going there in 2008. That made Russia the No. 5 market for U.S. pork last year.





A food-safety bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, next week will have a legislative hearing – at which lawmakers discuss the bill’s provisions; the bill could be debated and amended, or marked up, as early as the following week. NPPC has concerns with many of the bill’s provisions, including one that would expand the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority to conduct on-farm inspections. NPPC also is concerned about efforts to attach to the legislation an amendment that would ban the use in livestock of certain antibiotics.



The 21st annual World Pork Expo will be held next Wednesday through Friday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. As the largest pork-industry trade show and exhibition in the world, the expo will draw pork producers, exhibitors and visitors from across the country and around the globe. Speakers at the event will include USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Cindy Smith, who also is acting Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and Craig Morris, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service deputy administrator for the Livestock and Feed Program. For more information, visit the World Pork Expo Web site at