Late last week, the full U.S. House passed its agriculture spending bill for fiscal 2008. The legislation includes nearly $19 billion in discretionary spending for agriculture programs administered by USDA. It also carries an implementation timeline for the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law, which was included in the 2002 Farm Bill. The program is set to take effect Sept. 30, 2008.

According to the National Pork Producers Council, programs of specific interest to pork producers include funding for:

  • Pseudorabies eradication.
  • Livestock genome sequencing.
  • Swine and other animal-waste management efforts.

The bill dictates that USDA prepare a detailed implementation plan for the National Animal Identification System before the House will consider more funding. It also directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to complete and make public a review of the public-health effects concerning the sub-therapeutic use of penicillin in animal feed. The report is due by June 30, 2008. 

Additionally, opponents of slaughtering and processing horses for human consumption succeeded in getting language included that prohibits USDA from spending funds on inspections and to prohibit plants from paying for inspections.

The overall spending bill was passed by a 237 to 18 vote, after Republicans walked off the floor in protest of the Democrats’ maneuver on a motion that would bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal funds included in the bill.  Another 13 House members voted as “present.” 

 Source: National Pork Producers Council