Urging Congress to help maintain, strengthen and defend the competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry, the National Pork Producers Council in testimony laid out its priorities for the next farm bill.

“It is imperative that the U.S. pork industry be at least as competitive after Congress writes the 2007 farm bill as it is now,” NPPC President Joy Philippi told the House Agriculture Committee.

NPPC addressed five issues critical to the pork industry: risk management, conservation and the environment, ethanol, animal welfare and market structure and information.

Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb., urged the committee to look at revenue-based assurance options to protect producers from disruptions in export markets. U.S. pork exports are expected to account for 15 percent of production in 2006.

On the ethanol issue, NPPC expressed its concerns about the availability of corn for feed. Some analysts predict that by 2008 ethanol production will be large enough to significantly reduce corn stocks for other uses and to raise corn prices. “The rapidly growing demand for corn for ethanol production gives producers like me the jitters,” says Philippi.

Animal welfare likely will be a contentious issue during the upcoming farm bill debate, with animal-rights groups pushing for restrictive provisions dealing housing and transportation. NPPC told the committee about the pork industry’s ongoing animal welfare efforts, including the Pork Quality Assurance and Trucker Quality Assurance programs, which promote responsible animal care through the application of scientifically sound practices.

You can read NPPC’s testimony on the farm bill at www.nppc.org.

National Pork Producers Council