Discussions centered around 2023 Farm Bill, competition and labor, and trade.

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More than 100 pork producers from around the country attended National Pork Producers Council's Spring Legislative Action Conference on March 29-30 in Washington, D.C. The biannual fly-in allows U.S. pork producers to meet with their Members of Congress to discuss the industry's policy priorities and how decisions affect their farms and families. 

The Spring 2023 LAC was sponsored by Merck Animal Health, a research-driven company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of veterinary medicines and services. 

During the two-day event, speakers included NPPC President Scott Hays, House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and NPPC subject matters experts. 

2023 Farm Bill – Protect the U.S. food supply
NPPC is advocating for a 2023 Farm Bill that fully funds the programs that safeguard the nation’s food supply against threats posed by foreign animal diseases, as well as key programs that expand foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. 

The U.S. pork industry has faced significant headwinds since 2018, when the farm bill was last reauthorized, due to trade retaliation, supply chain issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and looming threats of foreign animal disease. U.S. pig farmers need solutions to sustain an industry that supports more than 610,000 American jobs and generates nearly $36 billion in personal income annually in rural America. 

The upcoming farm bill offers the opportunity to address the challenges and provide the industry with the tools it needs to prevent further disruption. 

Competition and labor
Ensure Fair Markets and Competitive Opportunities and Strengthen the H-2A Visa Program: Agriculture suffers from a severe labor shortage that negatively affects all links in the food supply chain – particularly in the pork industry. Pig farm employment has declined since 2021, despite higher wages and competitive benefits. Although historically dependent on foreign born-workers, current visa requirements fail to meet pork industry workforce needs. 

Trade – Expand and develop market access
NPPC supports trade agreements and other initiatives that open new and expand existing export markets and eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports. 

U.S. pork farmers have built a global reputation for providing domestic and foreign markets with high-quality, affordable products. In 2022, the U.S. exported $7.6 billion worth of pork to more than 100 countries and increased the average value of each hog marketed by nearly $61. U.S. pork exports also support over 100,000 jobs domestically. 

To grow exports and support high paying jobs in rural communities, the United States must open new and expand existing markets through trade agreements, trade and investment framework agreements, and market access deals. 

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