Senators call on USDA to support Prop 12

Legislative Watch: Stabenow joins Feinstein, Padilla, Booker; USDA livestock gene editing support; beef market hearings; 19 million hot dogs.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

April 22, 2022

3 Min Read
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Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, challenging California Proposition 12. This week, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) called on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to support Prop 12 in the case.

In a letter to Vilsack, the Senators said, "Given the impacts of the law, we urge your Department to support California and other states that restrict sales of a product with the intent of protecting the health and safety of consumers within their state. States should not be stripped of their authority to mitigate the harm that inhumane farm animal confinement poses to animals, people and the environment."

Groups support USDA's livestock gene editing efforts
A group of 11 agricultural organizations supports USDA's effort to develop a modern regulatory structure related to gene editing in livestock and urges the department to move forward on a rule-making process.

The organizations in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the current FDA approach of a case-by-case decision on gene edited animals under agency guidance rather than through regulations is an "untenable way to regulate" and stifles producers' access to innovation.  

The group said they support USDA's efforts to modernize regulations governing gene-editing technologies as proposed under the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for the Regulation of Movement of Animals Modified or Developed by Genetic Engineering.  

Those signing the letter were the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sheep Industry Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Sorghum Producers and National Turkey Federation.  

Senate and House hearings on beef markets
Next week the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will hold hearings focusing on the beef industry.  This will make six hearings concerning beef markets held during this Congress.  

The CEOs of the four largest beef companies (Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef) will testify before the House Agriculture Committee on consolidation in the meat industry on April 27. Chairman David Scott (D-GA) when announcing the hearing said, "It is well known that among the four companies that dominate this market, there have been a number of allegations and investigations. It is critical that we find out if industry concentration and anti-competitive behavior is playing a role in inflating prices for consumers and preventing ranchers from receiving a fair price." There will also be a panel of producers testifying.  

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on April 26 to discuss the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) which establishes a cattle cash mandate. It would require large packers to purchase a certain percentage of cattle on the cash market. The percentage levels would be established by USDA. The committee will also hear testimony on the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022 by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) which would establish a special investigator within USDA to focus on enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.  

Baseball fans will enjoy 19 million hot dogs this season
During the 2022 baseball season, fans will consume over 19 million hot dogs and nearly 5 million sausages according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.  

The top fans are the Los Angeles Dodgers at approximately 3 million hot dogs and sausages, followed by the New York Yankees fans consuming over 1 million hot dogs. The top sausage fans are the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.   

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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