A COVID-relief package that includes much-needed assistance to hog farmers in crisis and foreign animal disease prevention top the list of five critical issues at the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Legislative Action Conference (LAC) this week. Pork producers from across the country are gathering virtually to address these and other issues with lawmakers. Among LAC speakers will be House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Burke Healey.Click here to see more...
“The considerable economic contributions of a highly competitive, innovative U.S. pork production system, as well as the livelihoods of thousands of hog farmers, are at risk without effective solutions to multiple challenges facing our producers,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis. “U.S. pork producers are already suffering considerable losses due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cannot afford another catastrophic blow should African swine fever (ASF) or other foreign animal diseases enter our country.”
Last week, Germany reported its first case of ASF in a wild boar. The swine-only disease continues to spread in parts of Europe and Asia, and the United States needs to remain vigilant to ensure ASF and other animal and plant diseases don’t enter the country.
NPPC is urging Congress to fully fund foreign animal disease prevention programs. U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspections at U.S. ports of entry are funded by Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) program user fees. Due to the COVID-related economic downturn and significant reductions in travel, collection of these user fees has dropped precipitously.
“Without a prompt resolution, there will be an estimated $630 million shortfall in AQI funding through the end of fiscal year 2021. It is imperative that this funding shortfall be addressed to protect the U.S. swine herd and all of agriculture from foreign animal and plant diseases,” Roth added.