By National Pork Producers Council
For the Week Ending Feb. 19, 2021
APPLAUDS USDA FOR PROVIDING COVID VACCINE SUPPORT
Declared essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at the onset of the COVID pandemic, hog farmers, veterinarians, livestock haulers, harvest facility employees and other workers across the pork supply chain play a vital role in our nation’s food security and rural economies. On Wednesday, USDA announced plans to deploy veterinary medical officers and animal health technicians across several states to assist in the administration of the COVID vaccine. “Of course, vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, and we are grateful to the USDA for making personnel available to accelerate this national priority,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth. This week, NPPC launched a campaign to encourage essential pork industry workers across the supply chain to get the COVID-19 vaccine. NPPC supports prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for essential meat and poultry workers, directly after healthcare workers and other high-risk individuals. For more information, visit here.
EXTENDS HOURS OF SERVICE WAIVERS FOR LIVESTOCK, FEED
Late last week, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended its COVID-19 emergency declaration for Hours of Service (HOS) waivers for the transportation of livestock and livestock feed through May 31. HOS governs the amount of time commercial truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. The agency had previously extended the waivers through Feb. 28. NPPC thanks the administration and FMCSA for ensuring the continuity of the U.S pork supply chain as an essential element of the nation’s food delivery infrastructure.
ADDS TWO STAFFERS TO WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE
This month, NPPC added two staff members to its Washington, D.C. office. Jack Frye started this week as manager of congressional relations, joining Andrew Fisher as NPPC’s two lead Capitol Hill lobbyists. He most recently managed the National Restaurant Association's federal and state political advocacy programs and previously worked on Capitol Hill for Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.). Additionally, Jack Detiveaux started last week as manager of competition, labor and tax. He most recently was senior manager of legislative affairs for the National Association of Chemical Distributors and previously was senior manager of government relations for the American Bakers Association. NPPC is excited to welcome both Jacks to the team!
CONSIDERS JOINING CPTPP
Thailand is expected to take the next three months to decide whether it should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the International Economic Policy Committee announced earlier this month. The committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Don Pramudwinai, will now review the findings of a nine-month internal study, which considered the costs and benefits of CPTPP membership. The CPTPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, some of the world’s largest pork-consuming nations. NPPC’s top priority this year is to build momentum for the United States to re-join CPTPP under this administration, providing significant, new market opportunities for U.S. exporters.
NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER APPROVED AS NEXT WTO DIRECTOR GENERAL
On Monday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) formally approved former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its next director general. Her term will start on March 1 and is set to run through Aug. 31, 2025. Last fall, Okonjo-Iweala emerged as the consensus choice to lead the WTO for all but one member—the United States—which backed South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee. That led to a stalemate that essentially halted any WTO actions, until earlier this month when Myung-hee withdrew her nomination. The U.S Trade Representative’s office recently issued a statement, expressing “strong support” for Okonjo-Iweala.
VILSACK, TAI NOMINATIONS MOVING FORWARD; HOUSE HOLDING CLIMATE CHANGE HEARING
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the U.S. Senate will vote on the nomination of Tom Vilsack as the next USDA secretary. NPPC supports Vilsack’s nomination and recently joined nearly 130 agricultural and food groups, urging for his confirmation. Additionally, on Thursday, Feb. 25, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Katherine Tai to be the next U.S. Trade Representative. Last month, NPPC joined more than 100 national and state farm groups in sending a letter to Congress in support of her nomination. NPPC looks forward to working with her on numerous trade-related issues, including the United States rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Feb. 25 committee hearing is scheduled for 10am ET. Meantime, the same day at 12:30pm ET, the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on climate change, focused on the U.S. agriculture and forestry sectors.