Capital Update – For the Week Ending October 20, 2023

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In this week’s National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) Friday recap: NPPC President Scott Hays pens op-ed on swine traceability; NPPC urges producers to comment on strengthening swine traceability system; NPPC attends International Meat Secretariat meeting; NPPC’s Drs. Johnson, Forseth attend USAHA meeting; and Biden meets with EU officials on trade matters. Take a deeper dive below.

NPPC Op-Ed: Animal Disease Preparation, Swine Traceability Vital

What happened: NPPC President Scott Hays, a pork producer from Missouri, this week penned an op-ed for National Hog Farmer that lays out the need to fortify our defenses against foreign animal diseases (FADs) and emphasizes the importance of implementing a robust swine traceability system.

Why it matters: If an FAD were detected in the United States, it would prompt foreign markets to immediately stop taking U.S. meat. For the pork industry, that would be more than a $7 billion hit, considering 2022’s exports were nearly $7.7 billion.

Take action: In his op-ed, NPPC’s Hays called upon pork producers to continue efforts to raise awareness about the threat to farms and the nation’s food supply from FADs, such as African swine fever, and to continue advocating for funding in the 2023 Farm Bill for FAD prevention and preparation efforts. He also urged pork industry participants to weigh in on an updated swine traceability system that would make it easier to track pig movements, which would be vital to reopening markets that close because of an FAD in the United States. Dive deeper into the details in the next story.

NPPC Calls For Feedback on Strengthening Swine Traceability System

What happened: NPPC is asking pork producers to weigh in on a plan to strengthen the pork industry’s swine traceability system to better track pig movements, which would be vital in case of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak in the U.S.

Updates to the existing system include the addition of breeding stock, cull animals, and show pigs, whose movements currently are difficult to track, giving each a unique ID number. A draft plan also calls for registering premises for all producers, cull and breeding operations, and show pig farms and reporting movements for all pigs to a centralized database that is available to animal health officials.

Why it matters: As seen in previous FAD outbreaks, foreign export markets would close to U.S. pork immediately in response. Strengthening live-swine traceability will better assure animal health officials have access to comprehensive movement data, show trading partners the United States knows where disease-free animals are, and allow U.S. pork exports, which last year were nearly $7.7 billion, to resume.

Take action: Pork producers, veterinarians, cull swine and breeding operators, and show pig enthusiasts should comment on draft standards by Oct. 27. Their input will be used to update the standards, which will be presented for approval to pork industry delegates at the 2024 National Pork Industry Forum in March.

NPPC’s Bailey Attends International Meat Secretariat Meeting

What happened: Andrew Bailey, NPPC’s Senior Policy and Compliance Adviser, represented NPPC at a meeting of the Human Nutrition and Health Committee of the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) in Denmark.

Bailey shared updates on U.S. nutrition policy developments, including actions in the next Farm Bill and the 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. He also reported on initiatives from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerning front-of-package labeling and label claims for “healthy” foods.

Why it’s important: The IMS represents the meat and livestock sector, promoting the sustainable supply of safe, healthy, high-quality, and nutritious animal protein, including beef, pork, and sheep meat, and ensuring the sector’s contributions as an essential part of a healthy, sustainable diet. This organization collaborates with international standard-setting bodies, including the Codex Alimentarius, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, to shape public policy and regulatory standards affecting the global food supply.

NPPC’s Drs. Johnson, Forseth Attend USAHA Meeting

What happened: Drs. Ashley Johnson, Director of Food Policy, and Anna Forseth, Director of Animal Health, attended the annual meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA), an organization of which NPPC is a member. Forseth presented to the USAHA’s Committee on Swine on new traceability standards under consideration by the pork industry.  Several resolutions were passed in the Committee on Swine to support Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness.

The meeting also featured an address from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who emphasized the need to protect small- and medium-sized farms from animal health issues and to prepare for Foreign Animal Diseases. The secretary announced a partnership between USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to put scientists in regional labs in Arizona, Michigan, New York, Virginia, and Washington.

Why it matters: The USAHA is a forum for communicating and coordinating among state and federal governments, universities, the livestock industry, and other concerned groups on animal health, disease control, animal welfare, food safety, and public health. The organization serves as a clearinghouse for new information and methods, which may be incorporated into laws, regulations, policies, and programs. It develops solutions for animal health-related issues based on science, new information and methods, public policy, risk/benefit analysis, and the ability to develop consensus on issues.

Biden Meets With EU Officials on Trade Matters

What happened: President Biden met today in the White House with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss various trade matters.

In late 2021, the United States and the European Union (EU) initiated a two-year timetable to resolve tariff issues related to Section 232 tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminum trade. The talks have now expanded to encompass discussions on critical minerals for electric vehicles, raising hopes for broader trade negotiations.

Why it matters: U.S. exports are vital to the American economy, with agricultural exports exceeding $160 billion out of a total export value topping $2 trillion in 2022. These exports significantly contribute to agricultural job creation.

NPPC’s take: NPPC stands in favor of initiatives that eliminate or significantly reduce impediments to U.S. pork exports whether through comprehensive trade agreements and/or enforcement of international trade rules. NPPC has consistently advocated for negotiations with the EU to address tariff and non-tariff barriers.