North America – updates on the Farm Bill and industry impact in the US

The US Farm Bill will be updated in 2023. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek
The US Farm Bill will be updated in 2023. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek

The Farm Bill, the main 5 year agricultural funding and policy instrument of the US government, will be updated in 2023 and feedback is being gathered now.

The National Pork Producers’ Council (NPPC) praised the 2018 Farm Bill as it “contained language championed by NPPC to establish permanent, mandatory funding for animal disease prevention and preparedness.

This included funding of $ 120 million for the first 4 years for animal health and disease preparedness, requiring at least $ 5 million a year for the National Animal Disease Preparedness Program. Money can be allocated for a foreign animal disease vaccine bank for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

Foot and mouth disease vaccine bank

Looking forward to the 2023 Farm Bill, NPPC supports the development of a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank to enable the quick containment and eradication of an outbreak “to prevent catastrophic financial losses for the agriculture economy.”

New NPPC report

The pork industry’s impact on the entire US economy is the subject of a new NPPC report. It states that the US pork industry currently supports 613,823 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

“Farming and processing sectors are responsible for supporting more than $ 35 billion in personal income and boosts economic activity in related services such as trucking, grain elevators, insurance and other rural-based businesses.”

Another key finding from the report is the sale of more than 140 million hogs worth over $ 28 billion USD in gross cash receipts occurred in 2021 from more than 66,000 pig farms. The NPPC also reports that the number of US pig farms has grown over the last few years.


In 2021, approximately 25% of US pork was exported abroad, which equates to 7 billion pounds of pork valued at $ 8 billion dollars. In addition, exports added more than $ 62 per head in value to each pig marketed in 2021.

Some US pork is exported to Canada, but pork exports from Brazil to Canada have begun this year.

Canada’s pork imports

While Canada ranks third among all countries for annual pork exports, it also imports about 250,000 tonnes of pork on an annual average basis.

Brazilian company BRF has just received approval to ship pork to Canada, according to Reuters, from a facility in the state of Santa Catarina. The imports will include fresh and frozen pork cuts.

Canada approved Brazilian meat imports in March, reports Reuters. Since then, 7 factories have received the greenlight to sell products, with BRF’s being the 8th, according to meat industry group ABPA.

Feral pigs update

Wild pigs continue to be a problem in Canada (as well as the US, Europe and many other places).

Wild pigs were brought to North America from Europe a few decades ago and mated to domestic pigs in order to provide a new product. Some hybrids either escaped or were freed, and their descendants have spread from British Columbia to Quebec.

This year in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the area where wild pig populations are highest, the Ministry of Agriculture has introduced new regulations. Because pigs can escape from wild boar farms, there are to be no more new commercial wild boar farms in the province, and existing farms will need to be licensed and regulated. In the province of Ontario, wild boar farming is being phased out.

Enhanced surveillance and control

In addition, surveillance and control is being enhanced by Sask Pork, the province’s pig farming association, through a toll-free hotline to allow the public to report sightings. There is already a hotline in Ontario as well.

Hunting is ineffective as a wild pig control strategy – it only makes the pigs more elusive – and recreational hunting of wild pigs in Ontario has been banned. Many would like to see the same occur in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Invasive Wild Pig Strategy

At a national level, an ‘Invasive Wild Pig Strategy’ is being developed involving provincial and federal agencies and agriculture, environment and public health organisations.

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Treena Hein Correspondent