NPPC News and Information
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Updated: 8 hours 9 min ago
Thu, 2012-02-16 20:00
SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE HOLDS FIRST OF FOUR FARM BILL HEARINGS The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Wednesday held the first of four Farm Bill hearings: "Energy and Economic Growth for Rural America." The hearing, building on the 12 held in 2011, centered on rural growth, bio-based manufacturing and Farm Bill energy plans. Calling it a "jobs bill," Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said it is imperative that Congress pass a 2012 Farm Bill. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who was a witness at the hearing, was urged by committee members to oppose President Obama's proposal to cut $8 billion from the crop insurance program to fund the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Vilsack testified that agricultural research is not getting the attention it deserves, citing President Obama's proposal to increase competitively awarded research grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To read testimonies and watch the hearing, click here. MCDONALD'S WANTS PORK SUPPLIERS TO PHASE OUT GESTATION STALLS McDonald's announced Monday it wants its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation stalls for sows. The fast food restaurant asked suppliers to submit by May plans on how they will phase out the use of gestation stalls. After review, McDonald's will determine the next steps. NPPC offered to assist McDonald's in its assessment of current sow housing. In a statement issued Monday, NPPC said McDonald's decision represented an opportunity for the pork industry to respond to its consumers. It also reiterated the industry's position that the marketplace, rather than Congress, should inform decisions on production practices. NPPC also pointed out that the American Veterinary Medical Association supports the use of individual sow housing and group housing as appropriate for ensuring the well-being of sows. To read NPPC's statement, click here. SLAUGHTER DEMANDS FOOD COMPANIES, RESTAURANTS DISCLOSE ANTIBIOTIC POLICIES Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., Thursday sent a letter to 60 of the nation's largest food companies and retailers, including Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, McDonald's, Tyson Foods and Cargill, demanding information on their policies on the use of antibiotics in the production of the meat they sell. In addition to surrendering antibiotic policies, Slaughter is demanding the companies release the percentage of meat produced with and without antibiotics and information on any restrictions on antibiotic use. Companies have until June 15 to respond. Slaughter is the lead sponsor of H.R.965, the "Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2011" (PAMTA), which would drastically limit the use of medically important antibiotics in animal agriculture. Under the bill, such antibiotics could not be used to prevent or control diseases in livestock. NPPC opposes the legislation. U.S., CANADA MEET FOR HIGH-LEVEL CONSULTATION ON TPP The United States and Canada this week met for a senior-level bilateral consultation to address the inclusion of Canada in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. The meeting marked one of several bilateral consultations held between the United States and Canada since the Canadian Prime Minister's announcement in November 2011of interest in joining TPP. In the meeting, U.S. officials expressed stakeholder concerns over issues, including comprehensive market access, investment, intellectual property rights, insurance and telecommunications. NPPC opposes Canada's participation in the TPP because of its large subsidies to the Canadian pork industry. These subsidies, which have negatively affected the U.S. pork industry, are in violation of World Trade Organization rules and a U.S. countervailing duty law. According to analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, within 10 years of the implementation of Canada's new Ontario Risk Management Program, which offers income supplementation to C
Sun, 2012-02-12 20:00
Thu, 2012-02-09 20:00
FOR THE WEEK ENDING Feb. 10, 2012 2011 U.S. PORK EXPORTS REACH RECORD NUMBERS The U.S. pork industry in 2011 exported a record amount of product, according to data released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last year, the U.S. pork industry exported more than $6.1 billion - about 2.3 million metric tons - of pork, topping the previous record of $4.9 billion exported in 2008. Exports increased by 18 percent in volume and 28 percent by value compared with 2010 pork exports. Japan again was the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork, with $1.96 billion. Other top export markets included Mexico, Canada and China. The record numbers were driven by strong demand in China, South Korea and Japan. In the coming year, NPPC will continue to press the Obama administration to keep export markets open to U.S. pork and will advocate for the acceptance of new free trade agreements to expand U.S. pork exports abroad. CME ANNOUNCES INSURANCE FOR FARMERS, RANCHERS In an effort to restore market confidence damaged by the collapse of futures trading firm MF Global, the CME Group announced it will be creating a $100 million insurance fund to protect farmers and ranchers from further problems. CME was responsible for overseeing MF Global and faced criticism when the brokerage failed. Investigators are still searching for $1.2 million in customer funds, and for the time being, funds remain frozen in customer accounts. The insurance fund - Family Farmer and Rancher Protection Fund - is expected to become active March 1, 2012. The fund will reimburse individual farmers and ranchers up to $25,000 per account for losses they incurred from the collapse of MF Global, and farmer cooperatives can claim up to $100,000. Participants will qualify for a pro-rata share of the fund, up to $100 million, if the losses in a future failure exceed $100 million. To read more, click here. U.S., JAPAN HOLD PRELIMINARY TPP MEETING The United States and Japan Tuesday held a preliminary meeting to address Japan's interest in participating in future Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The meeting marked the first official bilateral consultation between the two countries since Japan first announced its interest in joining TPP in November 2011. At the meeting, U.S. officials summarized stakeholder input voiced in response to a Federal Register request for comments on the issue of Japan entering TPP negotiations. Issues raised by stakeholders ranged from sector-specific insurance, agriculture and automotive industry concerns to cross-sectoral issues. NPPC submitted comments in support of Japan's entry into TPP. Such a move would increase opportunities for U.S. exports to Japan, allowing U.S. pork producers greater access to a top market. With U.S. pork exports to Japan totaling $1.65 billion in 2010, Japan represents the highest value market for U.S. pork exports. Japan is also the second highest volume market for the U.S., with nearly 435,000 metric tons of U.S. pork exported to Japan in 2010. Japan and the United States Feb. 21- 22 will hold follow-up working-level meetings to continue discussions on TPP. Japan is moving forward in talks with all TPP members, meeting also with Singapore and Malaysia this week. Japan will meet with Australia Feb. 21 and with New Zealand Feb. 23. The next round of TPP negotiations will be held March 1-9 in Melbourne, Australia. TAIWAN RACTOPAMINE ISSUE ADDRESSED NPPC this week educated Congress on Taiwan's effective ban on meat containing the dietary additive ractopamine, a prohibition that has disrupted U.S. pork exports to Taiwan for the past four years and has recently begun to make headlines for its impact on U.S. beef exports. In 2007, the Taiwanese government notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it would establish a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine in pork, based on the MRL proposed by the Codex Alimentarius, the international food-safety body. After an outcry from Taiwanes
Thu, 2012-02-02 20:00
FOR THE WEEK ENDING Feb. 3, 2012 Labor Department re-proposes Child farm Labor Law The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division Wednesday announced plans to re-propose the "parental exemption" portion of its rules for child labor in agriculture. Concerns received from agricultural organizations - including NPPC - the public and members of Congress prompted the DOL to withdraw the original set of rules proposed September 2011, prohibiting children under the age of 16 to work in agricultural environments. Until the exemption is final, parental exemption will apply to situations in which the parent or person standing in the friend place of a parent is either a part owner of the farm, a partner in a partnership or an officer of a corporation that owns the farm if the ownership interest in the partnership or corporation is substantial. The DOL is expected to publish the re-proposed rule for public comment by early summer. To read NPPC's comments for the original rule, click here.
Thu, 2012-01-26 20:00
FOR THE WEEK ENDING Jan. 27, 2012 NPPC APPLAUDS SUPREME COURT 'DOWNER' LIVESTOCK RULING The U.S. Supreme Court Monday, by unanimous vote, overturned a California law that bans the processing of all non-ambulatory livestock, including hogs. The court said the state law drifted too far into federal jurisdiction over protecting public health and animal welfare. The law demanded non-ambulatory animals at packing plants be immediately euthanized. The high court was asked by the National Meat Association to find that the Federal Meat Inspection Act pre-empts the state statute. The California Legislature approved the law in 2008 after a grotesque video filmed and released by the Humane Society of the United States, showing non-ambulatory, or "downed," cows at a California beef packing plant being dragged and inhumanely prodded to enter the processing line. [The U.S. Department of Agriculture has for many years has forbidden the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle for human consumption or other uses because of concerns over BSE, or "mad cow" disease. Pigs cannot contract BSE.] A federal district court judge blocked the California law, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco in 2010 overturned the lower court ruling. NPPC, along with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the National Farmers Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, arguing that the California law would create an animal health risk and criminalize the work of federal slaughterhouse inspectors. NPPC has pointed out that, after transport from the farm to the packing plant, hogs can become non-ambulatory from fatigue. With rest, the overwhelming majority of them will walk, and processing them poses no food-safety or public-health risk. To read the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, click here. HSUS 'FARM TAKEOVER BILL' INTRODUCED A united group of agricultural organizations, including NPPC, was quick to oppose Monday's introduction of federal legislation born from a 2010 agreement reached by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) with the United Egg Producers. H.R. 3798, the "Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012," seeks to legislate how egg-laying hens are housed. HSUS agreed to forego trying to pass state ballot initiatives that would set egg production practices and to stop 10 years of litigation against and undercover investigations of the egg industry in exchange for egg producers nearly doubling the size of their cages for laying hen houses. In addition to legislating cage sizes, the bill mandates new federal egg labels and sets federal air-quality standards for hen houses. NPPC opposes what it has dubbed the "Farm Takeover Bill" because it would set a dangerous precedent by legislating federal on-farm production practices. NPPC supports the right of producers to use production systems that provide for the well-being of their animals; NPPC does not support federal legislation that specifies how producers should raise their animals. To read NPPC's press release, click here. FOOD, AGRICULTURAL GROUPS BACK U.S.-EU FTA A coalition of food and agricultural organizations led by NPPC in a letter sent Tuesday to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) expressed its support for a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union. Such an FTA is a likely option to be considered by a joint international working group on jobs and growth chaired by USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "Carried out properly," the coalition wrote in its letter to Kirk, "such an agreement would indeed generate economic growth and create many thousands of new jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course, this would require that the EU be prepared to negotiate and implement the type of high-standard, 21st-century agreement that is central to the [Obama] administration's trade policy efforts," wrote the coalition. "Free trade deals negotiated by the EU with othe
Tue, 2012-01-24 20:00
Sun, 2012-01-22 20:00
Sun, 2012-01-22 20:00
Thu, 2012-01-19 20:00
FOR THE WEEK ENDING Jan. 20, 2012 NPPC SUBMITS COMMENTS ON EPA'S CAFO RULE NPPC, along with nearly 90 agricultural organizations, filed two sets of comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday on the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule. The first set was signed by a coalition of 88 national, state and local agricultural groups. The second set, submitted on behalf of NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation, directly addressed the various legal concerns the organizations have with the rule and the challenges the rule will prompt if and when it is finalized. EPA's proposed rule would require large livestock and poultry facilities to submit to EPA substantial confidential farm and business information. The CAFO database rule is designed to provide a clearinghouse for activists on the location of farms and was the product of a sweetheart settlement between the Obama administration and anti-animal agriculture activist groups. NPPC voiced concerns that producers will incur substantial legal liability and that in compiling the information, the bio-security of producers' operations may be compromised. Furthermore, NPPC believes the rule would provide little or no added benefit to improving manure management or protecting water. In December, NPPC Vice President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss the pork industry's concerns with the proposed rule. PRESIDENT OBAMA OUTLINES PLAN TO REORGANIZE TRADE AGENCIES President Obama Jan. 13 outlined a plan to consolidate six federal government agencies and departments that focus on business and trade. The president proposed consolidating the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the Small Business Administration, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Department Commerce's core business and trade functions into a single cabinet-level department focused on trade and expanding market opportunities for U.S. businesses. Notably, the plan would eliminate USTR as a separate agency under the Executive Office of the President. USTR negotiates, enforces and administers the U.S. trade agreements program, as well as coordinates with different entities within the federal government, such as the Department of Agriculture, that have specialized roles in trade. NPPC is opposed to eliminating USTR as a separate, cabinet level agency. U.S. PORK EXPORTS ON TRACK TO REACH $6 BILLION FOR 2011 Export data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for November show that U.S. pork exports are on track to reach a record $6 billion for 2011. November also was a record month for exports with 217,000 metric tons (MT), valued at $598 million, exported globally. The 2011 estimated export value per pig rose 25 percent over 2010 to $55 per pig. In the first 11 months of 2011, the United States has exported 2,039,579 MT valued at $5.5 billion. Year-to-date volume exports have almost exceeded the record set in 2008 of 2,052,314 MT. These record numbers have been driven by strong demand in China, South Korea, Japan and Canada. USDA APPROVES BRAZILIAN PORK FOR EXPORT TO U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lifted the prohibition on Brazilian pork imports following 18 months of discussions over sanitary standards. USDA agreed to recognize Brazilian inspectors as capable of approving slaughterhouses in the state of Santa Catarina; so far, USDA has authorized six processing plants to export pork to the United States. In 2010, USDA recognized Santa Catarina as free of foot-and-mouth disease, clearing the way for processing plant approval. NPPC supports the principle of regionalization and does not object to the recognition of Santa Catarina as being free of foot and mouth disease and other swine diseases such as Classical Swine Fever. However, NPPC believes it
Thu, 2012-01-12 20:00
BILL TO BAN PROCESSING OF ALL NONAMBULATORY LIVESTOCK INTRODUCED Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., for the fifth time in as many Congresses, has introduced legislation that would ban all nonambulatory livestock from entering the food system and require that they be humanely euthanized. The "Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act," H.R. 3704, would amend the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act of 1958. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2004 banned nonambulatory beef and dairy cattle from entering the food supply as part the federal government's comprehensive BSE ("mad cow" disease) prevention program. NPPC, which opposes the Ackerman bill, has pointed out that hogs do not get BSE and that the majority of hogs that become nonambulatory do so because of fatigue and, with rest, will recover. There is no food-safety risk with processing such hogs, and all non-ambulatory or fatigued hogs are inspected by USDA Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors and veterinarians for their fitness for processing and entering the human food supply. Banning fatigued hogs would create disposal issues and affect the supply of pork products in the United States, according to NPPC.
Sun, 2011-12-18 20:00
MF Global And Pork Producers' Futures Trading Accounts for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry
Sun, 2011-12-18 20:00
Thu, 2011-12-15 20:00
NPPC VICE PRESIDENT MEETS WITH USDA, EPA CHIEFS NPPC Vice President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., Wednesday met with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to discuss issues of concern to the U.S. pork industry. Among those were the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) Reporting Rule related to the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS). The NAEMS study of emissions from livestock and poultry farms was conducted by Purdue University researchers with EPA oversight. EPA intends to hold a series of meetings to explore how the agency will interpret the data and the methodological approach it will utilize as it converts the data into useable emission factors to help producers determine their compliance with federal clean air laws. EPA's proposed CAFO Reporting Rule would require large livestock and poultry facilities to submit to EPA operational information. NPPC raised concerns that producers will incur substantial legal liability and that in compiling the information the bio-security of producers' operations may be compromised. Furthermore, NPPC believes the rule would provide little or no added benefit to improving manure management or protecting water. In a related matter, EPA granted a 30-day extension -- until Jan. 19, 2012 -- to the comment period on the reporting rule. NPPC had requested a 60-day extension to the original Dec. 20 deadline for filing comments. For more information about the proposal, click here.
Thu, 2011-12-08 20:00
NEW GIPSA RULE ISSUED The U.S. Department of Agriculture Thursday issued the final rule implementing the 2008 Farm Bill provisions on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry - also known as the GIPSA rule. It is a significantly scaled-back version of the proposal that was issued in June 2010, including only provisions related to issues Congress asked USDA to address. The original GIPSA proposal, which NPPC vigorously opposed, would have restricted marketing agreements between producers and processors, dictated the terms of production contracts, required additional paperwork, created legal uncertainty and limited producers' ability to negotiate better prices for the animals they sell. The final rule, which becomes effective 60 days from publications, includes provisions on the suspension of delivery of live birds to poultry growers, sets limitations on requiring livestock and poultry producers to make capital investments to their facilities, requirements for remedying a breach of contract and rules on arbitration clauses used in contracts. A provision requiring the terms "undue" or "unreasonable" preference or advantage to be defined was not included in the final rule. While the final GIPSA rule is significantly improved from the original proposal, NPPC still is reviewing it for legal and economic impacts on pork producers. To read the final rule, click here.
Sun, 2011-12-04 20:00
Thu, 2011-12-01 20:00
SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT SIGNS U.S.-KOREA FTA INTO LAW South Korean President Lee Myung-bak signed a package of bills necessary to implement the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) this week. President Obama had signed KORUS into law in October. In 2010, South Korea was the seventh largest value market and sixth largest market by quantity for U.S. pork exports, totaling 86,970 metric tons of pork products worth almost $190 million. Currently, U.S. pork exports to South Korea are applied significant tariffs of 25 percent on frozen pork products and 22.5 percent on fresh or chilled pork products. Under the FTA, tariffs will be eliminated on all U.S. frozen pork and some processed pork products by 2016 and fresh-chilled pork will be duty free 10 years after implementation with a safeguard. The FTA with Korea will create 9,100 direct U.S. pork industry jobs, add $10 to the price producers receive for each hog marketed and will be worth an additional $786 million annually. Korea implemented an FTA with the European Union on July 1, 2011, putting U.S. pork at a disadvantage with respect to competition from the EU in the Korean market. NPPC is encouraging the Obama administration and the Korean government to implement the FTA as soon as possible.
Thu, 2011-11-17 20:00
CONGRESS LIMITS SCOPE OF USDA'S GIPSA RULE The U.S. House and Senate late Thursday approved a fiscal 2012 appropriations "Minibus" bill -- funding the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several other agencies -- that includes language precluding USDA from writing, preparing or publishing a final rule or an interim final rule on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry -- the GIPSA rule -- unless the annual cost of any rule is less than $100 million. Last week, USDA sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget -- the last step before a regulation becomes final -- a rule that includes four of five provisions that were in the 2008 Farm Bill, with an estimated annual cost to the economy of $95 million. The GIPSA rule proposed by USDA in June 2010 went well beyond the five issues Congress included in the Farm Bill. NPPC consistently criticized that original rule, pointing out that it would restrict marketing agreements between producers and processors, dictate the terms of production contracts, require additional paperwork, create legal uncertainty and limit producers' ability to negotiate better prices for the animals they sell. The Minibus bill includes nearly $128 billion in discretionary spending but cut by $350 million discretionary spending for agriculture programs. The bill does include funding for agricultural research and extension programs at land grant universities. President Obama signed the measure into law today.
Thu, 2011-11-10 20:00
The National Pork Producers Council today welcomed Japan's announcement that it would like to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) multi-lateral trade talks. The TPP would be a regional trade bloc, consisting of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Thu, 2011-11-10 20:00
Thu, 2011-10-27 20:00