The future of the U.S. pork industry and America’s family hog farms are dependent upon continued expansion of pork exports, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said in testimony before Congress last week.

Testifying on behalf of NPPC before the House Small Business Committee, Harris, MO, pork producer Phillip Wise said the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to trade agreements, losing market shares to nations that are implementing trade pacts with other nations.

“Today, without exports, the price I would receive for my hogs would not allow me to remain in business,” Wise said. “In fact, for every hog marketed in 2010, approximately $56 of the price was because of exports. It is this increase in profitability which has allowed local producers to expand their operations, and which ultimately saved small communities like mine.”

Last week NPPC also praised the Obama administration for concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) with Columbia, setting the stage for congressional approval of the agreement later this year.

“We are very excited about this agreement because it will provide significant new export opportunities for U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a pork producer from Lancaster, WI.

“We’re grateful to the administration for finalizing the Columbia FTA, and we urge it to send the deal to Congress soon and urge lawmakers to approve it before their August recess,” he said.