With 15,000 guests and 400 exhibitors expected to participate in the 22nd annual World Pork Expo, the National Pork Producers Council kicked off activities for the event Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I’d like to welcome everyone to World Expo as we begin the three-day event,” said Sam Carney, NPPC president. Carney continued his remarks by recapping issues of concern that lie ahead for U.S. pork producers.

Concern was expressed about the 2012 Farm Bill, currently in the drafting stage in Congress. “We’re very concerned about how this proceeds,” said Carney.  “NPPC will be working for a favorable outcome on this bill as it moves ahead. We want pork producers to not be hindered in selling their pigs.”

Food Safety legislation, mandatory country of origin labeling and status of the animal identification program are other issues that are capturing NPPC’s concern and close attention.

Possible legislation on antibiotic use in the pork industry is also a major concern for NPPC. In addition, approval of foreign trade agreements currently log-jammed in Congress is a major effort for NPPC . “If our foreign trade agreements are not passed, the U.S. will lose revenue as well as jobs,” says Don Butler, immediate past NPPC president.

Growth in pork exports is vital to the future of the U.S. pork industry, say NPPC officials. China’s re-opening of their market to U.S. pork exports announced recently was welcome news however, issues remain that need to be addressed.

Regulations affecting confined animal feeding operations also are on NPPC’s radar. With efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate air and greenhouse gas emissions, efforts must be made to advance the interests of U.S. pork producers.

Many issues confront the U.S. pork industry and as they unfold NPPC is acting on multiple fronts to protect U.S. pork producers’ interests.