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20 wishes for the U.S. pork industry in 2020

For some of those wishes to be fulfilled, red tape will need to be cut and more effort across the aisle; for others, it may have to come from heaven above.

Did you get everything your heart desired for Christmas? I know I did and then some from my generous family members.

However, I will still have to go out and do some shopping for myself. No one ever seems to take me seriously when I put things like sweats and socks or towels and toiletries on the list each year. I know I can easily go out and buy those things for myself. I just despise doing so. I'll probably just add that to my growing list of New Year's resolutions of things I can and need to do.

I wish it could be that easy with some of the wishes on U.S. pork producers' list this past year. While we had success in keeping African swine fever out of U.S. herds; will soon be back in business with Japan, Mexico, Canada and somewhat back with China; and gained extra funding for additional agricultural inspectors and members of the Beagle Brigade at our borders, we had some wishes that still need to be addressed. For some of those wishes to be fulfilled, red tape will need to be cut and more effort across the aisle; for others, it may have to come from heaven above.

From the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, the Swine Health Information Center and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to the North American Meat Institute, U.S. Meat Export Federation, American Feed Industry Association and the USDA, and everyone in between, we have listened over the last year to your concerns, challenges, aspirations and visions for the future of the U.S. pork industry. And while we could have made this 2020 U.S. pork industry wish list much longer, we decided to narrow it down to the top 20 we have heard most often. We hope we have captured your sincere wishes for 2020.

  1. Keep the U.S. swine population ASF-free.
  2. Get unrestricted market access to the China market.
  3. Have optimal soil and weather conditions for the 2020 planting and growing season.
  4. See progress on getting a commercial DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated) compatible vaccine.
  5. Establish a U.S.-based foot-and-mouth disease bank with an adequate supply for a timely response if warranted.
  6. Expand export opportunities in The Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.
  7. Move regulatory oversight of gene-edited livestock from the Food and Drug Administration to the USDA.
  8. Encourage more international travelers to be truthful and declare recent farm visits and prohibited products they are carrying.
  9. Urge Customs and Border Protection to be thorough in pulling passengers for secondary screenings at ports of entry.
  10. Find a solution for livestock agriculture's labor shortage.
  11. Get California's Proposition 12 off the books.
  12. Reauthorize the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act.
  13. Should ASF or another foreign animal disease be diagnosed in the United States, a plan to assess and mitigate contamination within the feed supply chain.
  14. Maintain a level playing field with cell-cultured and plant-based meat.
  15. Find additional markets for record U.S. pork production.
  16. Halt the spread of wild boar in the United States.
  17. Encourage the top 14 pork producing states to perfect their ASF crisis response plans.
  18. Have science trump emotion in nuisance lawsuits against livestock operations.
  19. Spread the word to consumers, domestic and internationally, to gain a greater appreciation for the versatility of pork.
  20. Keep the U.S. swine population ASF-free.
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