For the Week Ending September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009

Washington, September 25, 2009


NPPC today commended conferees on the agriculture appropriations bill for agreeing to text slated for the fiscal 2010 agriculture appropriations conference report regarding the use of appropriated funds related to potential imports of poultry products from China. The conference agreement would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use funds in fiscal 2010 to promulgate or implement a rule allowing imports of processed poultry or poultry products from China only after the Secretary of Agriculture notifies Congress that certain conditions have been met. As the world’s biggest exporter of pork, the U.S. pork industry has a compelling interest in making sure that foreign governments base their trade decisions on science. Last year, the industry exported nearly $5 billion of pork, including almost $690 million to China, the second largest destination. In its efforts to move the process forward, NPPC was part of a coalition of agriculture and business organizations that urged the Congress to look closely at the issue. In August, NPPC issued a grassroots call to action, asking pork producers around the country to contact their members of Congress and urge them to find a science-based solution to the issue. And, at a critical point in the appropriations negotiations in mid-September, more than 130 pork producers came to Washington to meet with their congressional delegations on the issue.


The USDA released its hogs and pigs report today, revealing numbers that were widely expected.  U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2009 was 66.6 million head. This was down 2.3 percent from September 1, 2008 but up 1 percent from June 1, 2009. Breeding inventory, at 5.87 million head, was down 3 percent from last year and down 2.6 percent from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 60.8 million head, was down 2.2 percent from last year but up 1 percent from last quarter.  The June-August 2009 pig crop, at 28.8 million head, was down 2 percent from 2008 and down 1 percent from 2007. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.97 million head, down 4 percent from 2008 and down 5 percent from 2007. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 9.70 for the June-August 2009 period, compared to 9.51 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.40 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.80 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.  The USDA also announced that market hogs and pigs weight groups will be changing beginning with the December 2009 Quarterly Hogs and Pigs release. The market weight group under 60 pounds will be changed to under 50 pounds, and the market weight group 60-119 pounds will be changed to 50-119 pounds. The 120-179 pounds and 180 pounds and over weight groups will remain the same. These changes align NASS market hogs and pigs weight groups more closely with international trade data. Statistics Canada is making similar changes to the Canadian market hogs and pigs categories. This will allow for a more uniform analysis of the U.S. and Canadian hog inventories.  View the full report by clicking here.


NPPC this week praised President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Islam A. Siddiqui as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, an agency critical to the health and profitability of the U.S. pork industry. USTR’s mission is to develop and coordinate U.S. international trade, commodity and direct investment policy and to oversee trade negotiations with other countries. Siddiqui is a prominent American agricultural scientist currently serving as vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America. His agriculture background goes back to the California Department of Food and Agriculture where he spent 28 years before serving in various capacities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Clinton administration, including Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Senior Trade Adviser to then-Secretary Dan Glickman and Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. NPPC worked closely with Siddiqui when he was at USDA. Trade remains vital to the U.S. pork industry, which is the No. 1 exporter of pork products in the world, providing low cost, high-quality pork to consumers in 100 countries in any given year.


The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee will consider nominations for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, USDA and Farm Credit Administration Board at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30.

For questions, comments and suggestions or to unsubscribe, contact: Dave Warner, Director of Communications, NPPC, at (202) 347-3600. To read previous issues of Capital Update, visit NPPC’s Web site at