NPPC President Joins Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in USDA Roundtable Discussion

n a notable development, Lori Stevermer, President of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and a pork producer hailing from Minnesota, took part in a roundtable conversation convened by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Mankato, Minnesota, on Wednesday.

Secretary Vilsack unveiled fresh investments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) aimed at assisting agricultural producers in advancing conservation and adopting climate-smart practices. These investments build upon previous USDA initiatives implemented under key legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Expressing support for USDA’s endeavors to bolster U.S. farmers and rural communities, Stevermer highlighted several USDA programs that have notably benefited pork producers:

  • USDA’s procurement of approximately $105 million in additional pork products for various food programs over the past year.
  • Vilsack’s defense of producers amidst the market disruptions caused by California’s Proposition 12, which imposes stringent animal housing standards for pork sold within the state, along with his advocacy for a congressional resolution.
  • USDA’s advocacy on market access issues, particularly concerning China’s adherence to science-based standards.
  • USDA’s engagement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding proposed permitting guidelines for meatpacking plants, which could potentially impact numerous facilities.
  • Collaboration between USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. pork industry to ensure adequate harvest capacity at packing plants, including the implementation of pilot programs to expedite processing line speeds.

The significance of this dialogue was underscored by Secretary Vilsack’s reiterated concerns regarding the challenges posed by Proposition 12. During the roundtable, Stevermer emphasized to Vilsack the importance of his advocacy in garnering congressional attention towards finding a federal solution through the upcoming farm bill.

The NPPC continues to advocate for bipartisan support in addressing these pressing issues, emphasizing the need for a legislative remedy within the framework of the farm bill. As discussions persist, the collaboration between NPPC and USDA remains pivotal in navigating challenges and advancing solutions for the benefit of the pork industry and rural America.