The full U.S. Senate this week continues their consideration of the 2012 Farm Bill, officially referred to as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., are still trying to determine how to handle more than 200 amendments that have been filed.
The Senate is worked over the weekend to determine a finite number of amendments. If the Senate fails to come to an agreement, the likelihood that the Farm Bill will pass grows slimmer.
Examples of amendments that the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) opposes are amendment #2170 related to banning packer ownership of livestock and amendment #2252, the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012”.
The Packer Ban bill S. 2141, introduced by Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kent Conrad, D-N.D., seeks to ban packer ownership of livestock and allows Congress dictate or eliminate certain types of contracting mechanisms. This ban would force the livestock industry to revert to business model used more than half a century ago.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has introduced the “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012,” S. 3239, which seeks to codify an agreement the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came to with the United Egg Producers (UEP) to nearly double the size of space allotted to egg-laying hens. The legislation is strongly opposed by NPPC, which said it would set a dangerous precedent for allowing federal bureaucrats to regulate on-farm production practices.
Feinstein filed the Egg Bill as an amendment (#2252) to the Senate 2012 Farm Bill. NPPC is asking its members to call their Senators to urge them to oppose the Egg Bill.
NPPC also urges Senators to vote against amendments that seek to end all commodity checkoff programs and defund foreign market development (FMD) and market access programs (MAP). According to NPPC, FMD and MAP provide great benefit to U.S. pork producers, promoting U.S. pork abroad.
Debate on the Farm Bill will continue in the Senate this week.