The National Pork Producers Council, in congressional testimony, said the future of the US pork industry and of America's family hog farms depend on the continued expansion of exports.
Testifying on behalf of NPPC before the House Small Business Committee, Phillip Wise, a producer from Harris, Mo., said the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to trade agreements, losing market shares in nations that are implementing trade deals with other countries.
“Today, without exports, the price I would receive for my hogs would not allow me to remain in business,” Wise said. “In fact, for every hog marketed in 2010 approximately $56 of the price was because of exports. It is this increase in profitability, which has allowed local producers to expand their operations and which ultimately saved small communities like mine.”
Urging Obama administration
NPPC is urging the Obama administration to send up the implementing legislation for the Colombia, Panama and South Korea FTAs soon and urging Congress to approve them before its August recess.
According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, by full implementation, those FTAs will generate more than $770 million in additional pork exports annually, causing live hog prices to increase by $11.35 and creating more than 10,200 direct pork industry jobs.
“I can assure you that with the $11.35 increase in live hog prices from the three pending FTAs, I will not be leaving farming anytime soon,” said Wise.
In his testimony, Wise also requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture scrap its proposed regulation on the buying and selling of livestock and poultry – the GIPSA rule – which NPPC says will raise production costs, making U.S. meat exports less competitive with other countries. (An economic analysis of the rule conducted by Informa Economics estimated it would cost the pork industry nearly $400 million annually.)