At the opening day of the 23rd annual World Pork Expo in Des Moines, pending free-trade agreements and feed availability were top concerns of U.S pork producers, according to the National Pork Producers Council, host of the event.
The comments were delivered Wednesday at a news conference held by NPPC at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. FTA’s with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, are currently awaiting approval by Congress. Progress on approval of the FTA’s has been stalled by the Obama administration over labor concerns. Approval of the FTA’s could add 10,000 U.S. jobs in the U.S. pork industry as well as add $11 per hog marketed, according to NPPC.
“We have urged passage of these FTA’s for three years and we’re not willing to step back,” says Sam Carney, former NPPC president. “These agreements are crucial for the U.S. pork industry.” The NPPC is hopeful that Congress approves the agreements prior to the summer recess scheduled for August.
Regional shortages of feed are also a growing concern of U.S. producers. Excessive rainfall this spring and the widespread flooding that has resulted have led to late planting and increased worries of corn yield shortfalls of the 2011 crop. With carryover inventories of corn near historic lows, some producers may encounter feed availability interruptions in coming months.
Land scheduled for crop planting in North Dakota may be reduced by 2 million acres due to wet conditions, according to industry estimates. The acreage shortfall in Missouri may reach 570,000 acres.