Even though there is no livestock title in either the House or Senate Agriculture Committee farm bills, there are a number of key items that are important to the livestock, poultry and meat industries. They include:
· Grain Inspection and Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule – The House version prohibits USDA from advancing work on the proposed GIPSA rule or any new regulations or policy documents related to the livestock procurement provisions included in the proposed rule.
· Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) – The House requires USDA to conduct an economic analysis of USDA’s recently proposed rule on country-of-origin labeling.
· Production Practices – House version prohibits states from enacting laws that place any restrictions on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within the states’ borders, but are produced in other states. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) strongly opposed this provision saying that it threatens to “wipe out important state laws banning the cruelest factory farms practices and leave a raft of other state laws and rules regulating agriculture hanging in the balance.” HSUS also said this provision “could allow the overturning of every voter-approved animal welfare ballot measure relating to agriculture.” Those supporting the provision included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Renderer’s Association.
· Egg Production Requirements – Neither the House or Senate versions include the HSUS-United Egg Producers agreement on production standards for laying hens.
· Under Secretary of Trade – In the House and Senate, both bills establish a new USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. This provision was supported by a number of agricultural groups to recognize the importance of trade and to provide greater coordination of trade activities.
· Trade Promotion Programs – House and Senate bills reauthorize and fully fund the trade promotion programs – Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP).
· Livestock Disaster Program – House and Senate bills reauthorize the disaster programs for livestock.
· Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – the House bill reduces the CRP to 24 million acres by 2017. The Senate bill reduces CRP to 25 million acres. CRP is currently authorized at 32 million acres.
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