Late last week, the U.S. Senate and House appropriations committees passed their respective agriculture appropriations bills for fiscal 2008, which begins Oct. 1. The Senate measure includes $18.7 billion in discretionary spending; the House legislation includes slightly more than $18.8 billion. Both bills include a timeline for USDA to implement the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law, which was passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and is set to take effect Sept. 30, 2008. Among specific programs, the Senate bill provides funding for:

  • USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to conduct meat and poultry inspections.
  • USDA to implement the National Animal Identification System.

The House legislation includes funding for:

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

The House panel also asked for a detailed plan from USDA for NAIS implementation. It will withhold funding for the system until it receives such a plan. The panel cited that USDA has spent 80 percent of the $117.8 million in funding for the NAIS and registered only 28 percent of all livestock and poultry premises. The committee said, it “has no justification to continue funding for this program and therefore, the committee recommendation includes no new funding." The National Pork Producers Council, along with the National Pork Board, has been moving forward on implementing a mandatory ID program for swine. To date, about 60 percent of pork producers’ premises have been registered.

The House plan also directed the Food and Drug Administration to finish and make public by June 30, 2008, a review of the public-health effects of the sub-therapeutic use of penicillin in animal feed.

Source: National Pork Producers Council