This week the USDA announced in coordination with the pork industry, it is making additional efforts to keep African swine fever from entering the United States.
The efforts include:
- Work with Customs and Border Protection to train and add 60 additional beagle teams for a total of 179 teams working at key U.S. commercial, sea, and air ports;
- Coordinate with CBP on the further expansion of arrival screenings at key U.S. commercial sea and air ports — including checking cargo for illegal pork/pork products and ensuring travelers who pose an ASF risk receive secondary agricultural inspection;
- Increase inspections and enforcement of garbage feeding facilities to ensure fed garbage is cooked properly to prevent potential disease spread;
- Heighten producer awareness and encourage self-evaluations of on-farm biosecurity procedures;
- Work to develop accurate and reliable testing procedures to screen for the virus in grains, feeds and additives, and swine oral fluid samples;
- Work closely with officials in Canada and Mexico on a North American coordinated approach to ASF defense, response, and trade maintenance;
- And continue high level coordination with the U.S. pork industry leadership to assure unified efforts to combat ASF introduction.
In announcing the increased efforts, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach says, “We understand the grave concerns about the ASF situation overseas. We are committed to working with the swine industry, our producers, other government agencies and neighboring countries to take these additional steps.”
USDA and FDA enter into formal agreement on cell-cultured food products
USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service and the FDA have entered into a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. FDA will oversee the cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to FSIS oversight “will occur during the cell harvest stage.” FSIS will have oversight of the production and labeling of human food products derived from cells of livestock and poultry.
The agreement received support from the meat industry, producer and consumer organizations.
The North American Meat Institute says, “The framework announced today will ensure cell-based meat and poultry products are wholesome, safe for consumption, and properly labeled. We support a fair and competitive marketplace that lets consumers decide what food products make sense for them and their families, and this agreement will help achieve these goals by establishing the level playing field necessary to ensure consumer confidence.” The Good Food Institute, a non-profit organization that promotes alternatives to animal products says, “The agreement is a significant step forward in providing a transparent and predictable regulatory path to market for cell-based meat, which will help to ensure that the U.S. does not fall behind Israel, China, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore and other countries that are moving quickly to ensure a clear path to market for this method of meat production.”
Trump calls on China to drop ag tariffs
President Trump is asking China to remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products at the same time he announced he was delaying implementing additional tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products.
In a tweet, Trump says, “I have asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on our agricultural products (including beef, pork, etc.) based on the fact that we are moving along nicely with Trade discussions.”
There are indications that Trump and Chinese President Xi will meet toward the end of the month to try and finalize an agreement.
Ag groups oppose Farm Credit nominee
A group of agricultural organizations and farm coops are opposing the nomination of Rodney Brown to the board of directors of the Farm Credit Administration. Brown is a former president of the California Bankers Association. The CBA has called on Congress to abolish the Farm Credit’s tax benefits.
In a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee urging the Committee to oppose Brown’s nomination, the agricultural organizations say, “we are very concerned that an individual who held a senior leadership position in a lobbying organization that advocated for the elimination of the Farm Credit System might be considered to govern the federal regulatory agency charged with overseeing the Farm Credit System.” Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Rice.
Next week: Administration releases budget
The administration plans to release its FY ’20 budget this Monday. There are strong indications that the administration will be suggesting large cuts for agriculture. In the past, the Trump administration has proposed significant cuts including crop insurance, rural development and trade promotion programs.