Capital Update – For the Week Ending April 14, 2023

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In this week’s National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Friday recap: ND judge temporarily blocks WOTUS rule, NPPC supports Beagle Brigade Act, NPPC participates in Dublin Declaration of Scientists Symposium, U.S. pork exports increased, new report details foreign trade barriers and USDA NASS seeks responses to U.S. Census of Agriculture. Take a deeper dive below.

ND Judge Temporarily Blocks WOTUS in 24 States

What happened: On Wednesday, in a case NPPC is a party to, a federal judge in North Dakota granted a preliminary injunction to halt the WOTUS rule from taking effect in 24 states. This follows an earlier March injunction entered by a federal judge in Texas, in another case NPPC is a party to, which stopped the rule’s implementation in Texas and Idaho.

There are now 26 states where the Biden EPA’s WOTUS rule is enjoined. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Why does this matter: EPA and environmental activists have been seeking to change the Clean Water Act’s definition of WOTUS, attempting to expand federal jurisdiction beyond just navigable waters to minimize state and local authority over private land use decisions and agricultural activities.

EPA’s rule will put states, landowners, and countless other affected parties at risk of undertaking complicated and expensive permitting requirements for any activities, such as routine farming activities, that may implicate waters or land designated as a WOTUS.

American farmers, builders, manufacturers and small businesses believe that EPA’s rule, which was rushed out even though the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is set to rule on the extent of the Agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act, goes too far in expanding federal jurisdiction over private land that will create costly burdens.

NPPC’s take: The Clean Water Act must be workable for farmers, and the current rule defining what is considered WOTUS would create tremendous risk for farmers. The rule could lead to farmers being forced to obtain permits to undertake basic farming practices, such as planting seeds or applying nutrients or crop protectants to their fields.

EPA’s implementation of the WOTUS rule should be delayed until SCOTUS issues its decision in the Sacket v. EPA case that will spell out the extent to which land use features fall under the Clean Water Act. That case, which NPPC also participated in, was argued before SCOTUS last October, a week before NPPC’s California Proposition 12 case.

Learn more here.

NPPC Urges Quick Passage of the Beagle Brigade Act

What happened: The NPPC-supported Beagle Brigade Act of 2023 (H.R. 1480 and S. 759) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Representatives Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02), Drew Ferguson (R-GA-03), Dan Kildee (D-MI-08) and Adrian Smith (R-NE-03), along with United States Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) reintroduced the legislation that would provide permanent authorization for United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Detector Dog Training Center.

Why is this important: Safe and reliable food production is critical to the national and economic security of the United States. The “Beagle Brigade” serves as the first line of defense for early detection at the nation’s ports of entry and is critical in keeping foreign animal diseases (FAD), like African swine fever, out of the United States. Located in Newnan, Georgia, the National Detector Dog Training Center is a vital program in training agricultural canine teams.

NPPC’s take: NPPC led over 50 agricultural and other organizations in supporting the Beagle Brigade Act’s reintroduction and urges Congress to pass the bipartisan bill quickly. NPPC thanks Representatives Bishop, Jr., Ferguson, Kildee and Smith and Senators Warnock and Ernst for recognizing the importance of this critical program.

Learn more about NPPC’s advocacy efforts for science-based approaches to swine health and production, as well as FAD preventative and preparedness efforts here.

NPPC’s Dr. Carr Participated in Dublin Declaration of Scientists Symposium

What happened: Dr. Trachelle Carr, NPPC’s International Technical Services Specialist, participated in a meat sustainability-focused symposium co-hosted by the Animal Task Force and the Belgian Association for Meat Science and Technology.

What meetings took place: The Role of Meat in Society: Presenting the Dublin Declaration of Scientists Symposium in Brussels, Belgium, was a follow-up to the 2022 Dublin Declaration of Scientists meeting held in October. Scientists were asked to debrief reliable evidence of the nutrition and health benefits, environmental sustainability and socio-cultural and economic values, as well as for solutions for global livestock systems.

The declaration aims to give voice to the many scientists worldwide who research diligently, honestly and successfully in various disciplines to achieve a balanced view of the future of animal agriculture.

Why it matters: As technology use has increased to address the myriad of challenges farmers face over the past decades, so have the number of non-science-based trade restrictions faced by U.S. pork exports. Participation in these forums is critical to ensuring the adoption of global science-based standards by trading partners.

NPPC’s take: NPPC’s participation in these international forums, like the Dublin Declaration of Scientists Symposium, supports the U.S. pork industry’s position to advance science-based regulations and to prevent the implementation of other agenda-driven policies that would restrict U.S. farming practices.

U.S. Pork Exports Up for January-February 2023 vs. 2022

What happened: For the first two months of the year, U.S. pork exports were more than 456,500 metric tons (mt), valued at almost $1.24 billion, up 11.3% and 12.7%, respectively, from the same period in 2022, according to data issued last week from USDA.

Destinations for U.S. pork: Shipments to China, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Philippines remain strong, and demand from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Singapore and Vietnam was positive.

Exports to China – the number two market for U.S. pork exports – in January and February combined were 88,542 mt, valued at $228 million, up 33% and 27% year-over-year.

February exports to Mexico – the number one export market – fell from their record 96,800 mt in January. The two-month total topped 175,000 mt, valued at $346 million, 7% and 34% higher, respectively, compared with the first two months of 2022.

The volume and value of exports to number four Canada increased slightly, while Japan – number three – and South Korea – number five – saw decreases.

Bottom line: January and February U.S. pork exports accounted for almost $59 in value for each hog marketed, about a 10% increase from a year ago. Exports accounted for 23.1% of year-to-date production.

National Trade Estimate Report Details Barriers to U.S. Exports

What happened: The Office of theU.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released the 2023 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE) on Foreign Trade Barriers. The report details significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods and services, U.S. foreign direct investment and U.S. electronic commerce in important U.S. export markets.

Published annually since 1985, the NTE looks at barriers in 64 markets to which 99% of U.S. goods and 66% of U.S. services are exported. Among the trade obstacles considered are – import policies such as tariffs, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, government procurement policies, intellectual property protections (or lack thereof) and subsidies.

Agricultural trade barriers highlighted in the report include:

  • Burdensome facility registration requirements
  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measure regulations
  • Non-science-based import licensing requirements
  • Lack of adherence to international science and risk-based standards

For example, China requires all food manufacturers, processors and storage facilities to be registered, and Mexico and the European Union have non-science-based policies restricting the use of agricultural biotechnology such as GMO crops.

Why it matters: U.S. agricultural exports are vital to America’s farmers, ranchers and the overall U.S. economy, supporting about 1 million U.S. jobs. For U.S. pork producers, pork exports contribute significantly to their bottom line. Last year, producers exported $7.68 billion of products to over 100 foreign destinations.

NPPC’s take: U.S. pork farmers have built a global reputation for providing domestic and foreign markets with high-quality, affordable products. NPPC continues to advocate for comprehensive trade agreements to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports.

Learn more on NPPC’s international trade priorities for the U.S. pork industry.

USDA Seeks U.S. Agriculture Census Data

What happened: The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) wants U.S. producers to complete their 2022 ag census forms. Nearly 1.4 million questionnaires have been completed, but many have yet to respond. USDA will continue to collect completed 2022 ag census forms this spring to ensure producers are represented in this widely used census data.

Why it matters: The Census of Agriculture plays a role in policy, farm and conservation programs, infrastructure, rural development and more. The stronger the response, the stronger the data, which means representation and resources for our nation’s producers.

How to respond: Check out to learn more and fill out the survey.