The U.S. House passed its 2007 Farm Bill in a 231 to 191 vote on Friday. While it has many provisions reaching across various agriculture sectors, it will strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry, says National Pork Producers Council offiicals.

The $286-billion, five-year Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 makes moderate and balanced reforms to U.S. farm policy yet maintains a safety net for farmers and livestock producers and expands investments in conservation, nutrition and renewable energy programs, according to NPPC officials.

“The House bill will help pork producers remain competitive in the global marketplace,” says Jill Appell, NPPC president and pork producer from Altona, Ill. “Being competitive means producers can sustain the profitability they’ve enjoyed now for 40 consecutive months.”

The legislation includes conservation and energy titles that recognize pork producers’ role in protecting the environment, as well as contributing through technologies such as converting methane to energy. "This assists the country’s energy security and provides a boost to U.S. pork exports by increasing funds for the Market Access Program," notes Appell.

The House Farm Bill  also maintains baseline funding for the commodity and conservation titles; reauthorizes the farm safety-net components; keeps loan rates, counter-cyclical and direct payments in accord with the 2002 Farm Bill; increases funding for conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; and includes much-needed fixes to the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law.

“The U.S. pork industry wants a 2007 Farm Bill that maintains producers’ competitive advantage in the global marketplace, that strengthens their competitiveness and that protects producers from initiatives that would adversely affect their livelihoods, such as mandates on production practices,” Appell says. “The House bill achieves those goals, and NPPC is pleased to offer its support for the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007. We look forward to the Senate passing a similar bill.”

Source: National Pork Producers Council