DES MOINES, IOWA — During the 2024 World Pork Expo, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) hosted a policy panel on June 5 to discuss the importance of working with both sides of the Congressional aisle to advocate for the pork industry.

With the passing of the Farm Bill by the US House Agriculture Committee on May 23, NPPC celebrated the many pork initiatives present in the legislation. Preparing for and preventing foreign animal diseases (FADs), navigating challenges posed by California Proposition 12, increasing market access programs for US pork and protecting herd health were all key priorities of NPPC included in the bill.

“Having a proactive, producer-focused advocacy plan has enabled NPPC to elevate our common interests to impact inclusions in the 2024 House Farm Bill,” said NPPC President Lori Stevermer, a pork producer from Easton, Minn. “We appreciate our legislators addressing the issues facing the agriculture industry because they hold real-world implications for farms across the country.”

As part of the panel discussion, Anna Forseth, NPPC director of animal health, highlighted the importance of preserving FAD risk and prevention programs, which include National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank; National Animal Health Laboratory Network; National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program; and National Veterinary Stockpile.

“Pork producers continue to face threats from foreign animal disease like African swine fever,” Forseth said. “Farm Bill funding can address these risks and help mitigate an outbreak that could lead to billions of dollars in losses, food shortages, and immediate closure of export markets.”

Chase Adams, NPPC assistant vice president of domestic policy, discussed the complications posed by Prop 12 in potentially opening the door to a web of 50 different standards on how food is produced. Adams noted that already Prop 12 has led to price spikes as high as 41% for fresh pork in California.

“NPPC urges Congress to adopt a legislative solution in the Farm Bill to mitigate further impacts to both farmers and consumers,” he said.

NPPC said additional resources are needed for feral swine eradication, authorization of the National Detector Dog Training Center and funding for the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP).

“Exports create significant opportunities for the US pork industry,” said Maria Zieba, NPPC vice president of government affairs. “USDA’s MAP program is designed to build commercial export markets for US agricultural products. NPPC values the role international marketing plays in developing markets for US pork.”

While the pork industry is still recovering from historic economic losses, NPPC strives to be proactive in protecting producers from policies that could further hinder their businesses.

“NPPC continues to work on a range of policy issues that protect herd health and safeguard producers’ farming businesses,” said Bryan Humphreys, NPPC chief executive officer. “As it relates to ongoing discussions around the Farm Bill, we want to continue the momentum set by inclusions in the House version and encourage Congress to finalize a bipartisan bill this year that reflects the needs of pork producers.”