US Congress approves much applauded Farm Bill
The US Congress last week approved of the 2008 Farm Bill - officially
known as the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act. The bill includes a number of
provisions beneficial to the US pork industry, according to the National Pork
Producers Council (NPPC).
"Our goal going into the Farm Bill process was to maintain the
competitiveness of the US pork industry, which meant increasing funds for vital
programs and keeping out any mischief," said NPPC president Bryan Black. "We
accomplished that goal, and the 2008 Farm Bill is good for
Among the provisions that NPPC supported are ones that
â€¢ Change the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law to
include four new label categories for meat, including one to address Canadian
feeder pigs by allowing flexibility in labeling so that producers and packers
can reduce sorting costs.
â€¢ Require a study that looks at the
costs and impacts on pork producers and consumers of requiring packers to
report wholesale pork cut prices and volumes.
â€¢ Authorise a voluntary
national trichinae certification programme, which will certify that
exported pork is trichinae-free thus further increasing export
â€¢ Authorise the US Pork Center of Excellence, which
coordinates research, teaching and extension for the pork industry on a national
Authorise research grants for mapping the swine
â€¢ Authorise research and education grants for the study of
antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including the movement of antibiotic-resistant
bacteria into ground and surface water, and for the study of judicious use of
antibiotics in veterinary and human medicine.
â€¢ Increase funds for the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program and make it easier for pork
producers to qualify for the cost-share conservation programme.
Increase funds for the Conservation Security Program to allow more acres
to be enrolled and restructure the program to provide conservation stewardship
payments that encourage producers to implement additional conservation
â€¢ Allow the use of manure and manure biogas for advanced
biofuel and renewable biomass production.
incentives for expanding production of advanced biofuels made from
agricultural and forestry crops and associated waste materials, including animal
manure and livestock and food processing waste.
â€¢ Give producers the
right to cancel production contracts within three days of
â€¢ Sense of Congress regarding the pseudorabies
eradication programme, recognising the threat of feral swine to the
domestic swine population and establishing continued support for the swine
â€¢ Increase funding for the export-promoting
Market Access Program and for the Foreign Market Development programme.
Direct the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration to provide
Congress an annual report on the number and resolution of livestock cases
brought under the Packers and Stockyards Act.
â€¢ Allow interstate
shipment of state-inspected meat and poultry from packing plants that have
state inspection programmes that are identical to the federal
The bill also lowers the ethanol
blender's credit from $0.51 per gallon to $0.45 cents and extends the import
tariff on ethanol to December 31, 2010, from December 31, 2009.
which first raised concerns about the rapid rise of corn-based ethanol
production in September 2006, said extending the 54-cent import tariff will
further inflate the high feed costs currently affecting pork
"NPPC supports ethanol production," said
NPPC's Black. "But pork producers still have concerns about corn costs and
availability, both of which are affected by ethanol production, and about our
ability to compete for corn on a level playing field with the subsidised ethanol
The Farm Bill now will be sent to
the White House, where President Bush is expected to veto the measure because, he
says, it does not include reforms to various farm programs and does include
budgetary gimmicks and tax increases.
â€¢ National Pork Producers
â€¢ US Congress
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