The National Pork Producers Council calls for immediate relief for the nation’s hog farmers. U.S. hog farmers are facing $5 billion in collective pandemic-related losses this year following two challenging years due to trade retaliation.
NPPC President Howard AV Roth says, “We’ve lost hog farmers of all sizes due to the COVID pandemic and need additional relief to preserve a highly competitive pork production system.” Without further assistance, Roth says, “we will lose more hog farmers and see our farm sector consolidate.” Among the provisions NPPC is seeking, they include compensation for euthanized and donated hogs.
Additionally, the organization asks for modification of the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding. The organization also seeks additional funds for direct payments to producers without restriction, and an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program with modifications to make it accessible to more producers. NPPC also calls for additional funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners.
Earlier this month, Mexico modified its Foreign Trade Law Agreement to comply with its new Front-of-Package Labeling law that went into effect on Oct. 1. The modifications require shipments of prepackaged food products previously exempted from labeling to immediately comply with the new labeling law by removing exemptions for: imported goods that would not be sold to the public in the form in which they were imported; imported goods to be used directly by a company not subject to commercialization; products destined to remain in the border area or regions of Mexico; and products imported by those who carry out marketing activities and provide restaurant assistance. Prepackaged products within those categories—including foodservice products—must now comply with the new labeling standard.
The U.S. exports processed pork to Mexico, which will now need to comply with this law. The National Pork Producers Council reports this could add incremental costs and potentially reduce Mexican consumption of U.S.-processed pork.
The National Pork Producers Council says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stalled the development of emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture.
The FDA has claimed regulatory jurisdiction over gene-edited livestock and has stalled the technology in the U.S. for more than two years, according to NPPC. However, the scientists who invented one of the most promising forms of this technology, the “CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors,” were just awarded the Nobel Prize.
NPPC President Howard A.V. Roth states the Nobel Prize award serves notice that “If we don’t move oversight of gene-edited livestock to the USDA, we will have ceded this promising technology to global competitors at the expense of American jobs and our nation’s global agricultural leadership position.”
The National Pork Producers Council has repeatedly called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be granted gene-edited livestock regulatory oversight. NPPC says gene editing accelerates genetic improvement that would occur naturally over time by making changes to an animal’s own genome.