HTML _ IB10021 - Animal Agriculture: Issues for the 106th Congress
22-Sep-1999; Geoffrey Becker; 16 p.

Abstract: A variety of animal agriculture issues has generated debate in the 106th Congress, including low livestock prices, particularly for hogs. Economic difficulties have revived questions such as the impacts of consolidation in the livestock industry, and the price effects of animal imports from Canada and Mexico. This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was implementing provisions in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1141; P.L. 106-31, signed May 21) that make available up to $145 million to assist pork producers, and another $73 million in payments to livestock producers generally for disaster losses. New economic assistance for animal agriculture also is being considered as part of a broader, multi-billion farm relief package now nearing passage in Congress. A number of other legislative proposals to assist livestock producers have been introduced, including bills mandating that packers report prices paid for animals (the Senate Agriculture Committee marked up a bill on July 29, 1999), or that meat products be labeled with their country of origin. On the trade front, U.S. officials concluded an agreement on April 14, 1999, on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary standards that, among other things, commits China to immediately open its markets to U.S. pork, beef, and poultry imports by agreeing to accept USDA certification of the safety of U.S. products exported. President Clinton, on July 7, 1999, announced new, higher tariffs on lamb imports from New Zealand and Australia based on findings by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that increased lamb meat imports ¨are a substantial cause of the threat of serious injury¨ to U.S. producers. In a separate action, the ITC on January 19, found that U.S. cattlemen might have been economically threatened by Canadian cattle imports, leading the Commerce Department to impose a preliminary 5.57% duty on such imports. A final relief determination is due by October 3. Continuing disputes with the European Union (EU) over its barriers to U.S. meat and poultry imports and chronic difficulties getting products into countries in the increasingly important Asian market also are at issue, as Congress considers the success of existing trade agreements and whether to enter into new ones. For example, the World Trade Organization gave the EU until May 13 to lift its ban on imports of meat products from animals treated with growth-promoting hormones. The EU did not lift the ban, and the United States retaliated by imposing, in late July, 100% tariffs on $117 million worth of EU imports. In another area, the Administration issued in March 9 1999, a new ¨Unified National Strategy¨ for animal feeding operations -(AFOs) aimed at improving compliance and strengthening existing regulations for controlling waste discharged from such operations. In August 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency followed up by unveiling a proposed guidance manual and permit examples for AFOs, inviting public comments for 60 days. It is aimed at providing information on which AFOs would need to apply for permits (likely 15,000 to 20,000 of the largest operations); how manure should be applied on land; and monitoring and reporting requirements, among other things. [read report]

Topics: Agriculture

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