“We are very disappointed,” says Joy Philippi, NPPC’s past president referring to the Senate Agriculture Committee’s version of the 2007 Farm Bill approved Thursday. “Overall the legislation likely will restrict and further regulate producers’ access to markets and make the U.S. pork industry less competitive in an increasingly competitive global market” she added.

While it does contain some good for U.S. pork producers, the bad far outweighs the positive, according to NPPC. The bad programs for pork producers in the Senate-approved version include provisions that would:

• Ban packer ownership of hogs and marketing contracts.
• Establish an Office of Special Counsel for livestock competition issues.
• Restrict certain business practices related to contracts between packers and producers.
• Prohibit arbitration clauses in contracts between packers and producers.

NPPC added that there are some beneficial points included in the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill. Included are provisions that:

• Fix the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law.
• Fund swine genome research.
• Authorize a national trichinae certification program.
• Fund conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
• Establish – through a Sense of Congress resolution – that eradication of pseudorabies in swine should be a top animal health priority.
• Authorize “Regional Centers of Excellence,” which would conduct research on agricultural commodities, including swine.

NPPC supports the Farm Bill approved in July by the House. It includes increases in investments in renewable energy, nutrition and conservation programs, as well as much-needed changes to the Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling law. It has no competition or animal welfare provisions.
Source: NPPC