Foreign Animal Disease Tops Resolutions Approved by NPPC

Global and national policy issues continue to be top priorities for pork producers. ( PORK )

Each year, pork producers gather to discuss pork industry challenges and opportunities and adopt resolutions to help protect the U.S. pork industry during the National Pork Producers Council’s annual business meeting at the National Pork Industry Forum. 

NPPC delegates adopted several important resolutions during the meeting held March 7-8 in Orlando. 

“These resolutions reflect the concerns of the U.S. pork industry and the efforts we need to take to protect the livelihoods of producers," says David Herring, NPPC president. "NPPC will work with Congress, the Trump administration and others to tackle these and other issues of importance to our industry."

Resolutions approved by NPPC will address the following issues:

Strengthen pork industry efforts to prevent foreign animal diseases (FADs) from entering the U.S. 
Separate resolutions were adopted, including directing NPPC to work with the USDA and the FDA on restricting imports of soy-based animal feed products from countries with a high risk of transmitting FADs. They also directed NPPC to urge USDA and other public and private research institutions to evaluate FAD virus viability in pig feed and feedstuffs and to develop hold times for imported feed.

As well, NPPC will work with the National Pork Board, USDA, FDA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on coordinating with Canada and Mexico development of practices to protect the North American swine herd from FADs. In addition, a related resolution was approved to explore options for mitigating the impact of diseases on the pork industry and to review disease monitoring and control efforts.

“African swine fever is the worst virus that can infect a pig,” Gordon Spronk, DVM, of Pipestone Veterinary Services, shared with delegates at the annual meeting. “We need to do more research and make good decisions based on what we know from other countries fighting this disease.” 

Work for a change to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Hours of Service (HOS) rules.
NPPC adopted a resolution to push for HOS rule changes that allow livestock haulers to not have periods when animals are being loaded and unloaded or when they must remain in their trucks counted against their "on-duty" time. The HOS regulation limits certain commercial truckers to 14 consecutive hours of on-duty times; drivers reaching that limit then must take a 10-hour rest break. For biosecurity reasons, many livestock haulers must remain in their trucks during loading and unloading of animals.

“We need to do more education about livestock transportation,” says Michael Formica, NPPC assistant vice president and council for domestic policy. “We face different realities when transporting livestock. What is safe for drivers? What are the best practices for the animals?”
Urge the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security to expand visas.
In order to provide a more reliable work force, farm operations need the opportunity to expand visas to allow foreign workers to stay in the U.S. longer. U.S. agriculture’s labor shortage is severe.

According to NPPC past-president Jim Heimerl, a study from Iowa State University on the agricultural workforce determined that a reduction in the foreign-born workforce would not be offset by native-born workers and permanent residents. Because of this, will continue to urge lawmakers to make changes to the visa system so they could have access to a reliable workforce. 

Monitor USDA and FDA to ensure the agencies are transparent throughout the development, production and harvest of laboratory-produced cultured protein (L-PCP).
In an effort to increase transparency with USDA and FDA, NPPC passed a resolution to work closely with the agencies throughout the development, production and harvest of L-PCP. The agencies recently agreed to joint oversight of L-PCP, with FDA overseeing cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation and USDA overseeing the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

Identify existing and emerging pork industry issues and the funding needs to address them.
Recommendations, including budget requirements, are to be provided to state associations prior to the 2020 Pork Forum. 

Related Articles from 2019 Pork Forum:

Farm Bill Tops NPPC President Jim Heimerl’s Contributions

Pork Industry Pleased With USDA, FDA Regulation of Cell-Cultured Food

Pork Board Names 2019 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

Students Awarded Pork Industry Scholarships at National Pork Forum

Dr. Billy Flowers Receives Pork Industry's Distinguished Service Award

Former Michigan Pork Executive Honored

Miller Inducted into NPPC Hall of Fame

Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act: Squeaky Wheel Gets Grease

USDA Takes Additional Action to Prevent African Swine Fever Spread

Pig Farmers Pack 900 Meals for Orlando-Area Children