Legislative Watch: Grants to expand meat and poultry processing; U.S.-India to finalize pork certificate, and more.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

November 25, 2021

4 Min Read
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USDA Grants to Expand Meat and Poultry Processing - The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it was awarding $32 million in grants to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities to expand capacity and efficiency. 

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, "Today’s investment supports local and regional meat and poultry processors as they recover from the pandemic and also work to expand capacity.  Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, pursue new market opportunities, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain."

The funds may be used to cover the costs for improvements such as expanding existing facilities, modernizing processing equipment and meeting packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements needed to achieve a Federal Grant of Inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or to operate under a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

The grants were awarded through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program, which was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

U.S.-India to Finalize Pork Certificate - In a joint statment released by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the U.S. and India announced that India agreed to work to finalize a mutually agreed export certificate to allow for the importation of U.S. pork products.  This announcment was released at the conclusion of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum.

The National Pork Producers Council has been calling on India to lift its de facto ban on U.S. pork and accept the veterinary export certificate proposed earlier by USDA.

There is potential for large U.S. pork exports to India because of the hotel and restaurant demand.

The two countries also agreed to expand trade in various agricultural products including U.S. cherries, alfalfa, and distiller dried grains and Indian mangoes, grapes, shrimp, and water buffalo meat.

Suspend Brazilian Beef Imports - There are growing calls from Capitol Hill and beef producers for the USDA to suspend Brazilian beef because of BSE.  Brazil on September 3 announced two cases of BSE it had detected in June, taking over eight weeks to report the BSE cases to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).  The OIE requires countries to report within 24 hours of any animal disease event that could be of international concern for public health reasons.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has introduced legislation to suspend the importation of Brazilian beef to the United States until experts can conduct a systematic review of the commodity’s safety.  Tester said, "We owe it to our domestic producers and consumers to halt Brazilian imports until we can guarantee their beef and reporting standards are making the grade."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has called on Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to suspend all imports of fresh beef from Brazil to the United States until USDA has conducted a thorough risk assessment and review of the processes that Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply (MAPA) uses to detect disease and other threats to consumers.

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has also called on USDA to suspend the importation of Brazilian beef.

Members Leaving the House - With less than a year until the 2022 election, a number of House members have announced they will not be running for re-election or plan to run for a different office.  As states move forward on redistricting, it is expected additional members will be announcing their retirements.

As of now, 28 members (17 Democrats and 11 Republincans) are not seeking re-election to the House or Representatives - 13 are retiring and 12 are running for another office.

Those retiring are: Kevin Brady (R-TX), Cherie Bustos (D-IL), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ron Kind (D-WI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), David Price (D-NC), Tom Reed (R-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Filemon Vila (D-TX), and John Yarmouth (D-KY). 

Those planning on running for another office are Karen Bass (D-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Anthony G. Brown (D-MD), Ted Budd (R-NC), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Val Demmings (D-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA), Vickie Hartzler (R-MO), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Billy Long (R-MO), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY). 

Bustos, Hartzler, and Vila are members of the House Agriculture Committee.

 

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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