National Pork Producers Council president Barb Determan commended the Senate for defeating 52-44 an amendment that would have excluded thousands of deserving pork producers from receiving cost-share assistance under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Determan, a pork producer from Early, Iowa, says that the Senate farm bill now contains similar EQIP participation language as the bill that passed the House in October. It replaces participation based on size with a payment cap of $150,000 per contract, consistent with the limits for row crop farmers.

“The Wellstone amendment was designed to prevent pork producers from participating in the EQIP program by establishing a series of deliberate roadblocks,” says Determan. “Modern, family owned pork operations come in all shapes and sizes and to limit participation in EQIP based on when or where an operation was built would be just as arbitrary as the standard existing in current law.”

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it will cost $281,328 over 10 years for a Midwestern pork operation with 1,460 hogs to comply with its proposed CAFO rule. For a 3,444 head farrow-to-finish swine operation in the Midwest, capital costs alone would total $332,000.

According to an analysis by the Food and Agriculture Research Institute, these costs will severely stress pork operations and without federal cost-share assistance necessary to meet the new EPA requirements, operations will close.

“We commend the Senate for opposing the Wellstone amendment and retaining avery sensible and workable EQIP program that will deliver the kinds of environmental improvements the American people desire,” says Determan.

National Pork Producers Council