Agreement protects producers from penalties for emissions violations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent approval of air consent agreements, which protect animal feeding operations from EPA enforcement actions, has drawn support from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

Livestock producers who signed the agreements will be exempt from past air emission violations and from potential infractions over the next four years.

Later this year, EPA will embark on a two-year air emissions monitoring study of animal feeding operations. The data will be compiled to develop emissions estimates for farms that can be applied nationwide.

So far, EPA has approved 20 consent agreements, 10 from the swine industry and 10 from the egg industry.

That action paves the way for EPA to approve consent agreements signed by 2,700 producers, comprising about 13,000 operations, including 4,900 hog operations.

A key component of the EPA agreement, which NPPC helped negotiate, is the EPA-approved monitoring and research study conducted by independent researchers and supported by pork checkoff funds.

The study is expected to help develop a sound, reasonable and effective air emissions regulatory program.

NPPC Opposes EPA Feeding Rule Deadline

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has filed comments on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new deadline for pork producers to comply with a pending rule on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

EPA proposes March 30, 2007 as the deadline, even though the agency doesn't expect to publish a final rule until the end of 2006.

“Both the states and farms will clearly need more time to respond” to the final rule, NPPC says.

The courts forced the EPA to revise its 2003 CAFO rule, and the agency proposed new deadlines.

In its comments, NPPC also objected to a single deadline for pork producers to propose and implement nutrient management plans. It suggested two deadlines, because proposed plans must be reviewed and approved by EPA, be subject to public review and comment and incorporated into discharge permits.

Illinois Awarded Swine Genome Grant

The University of Illinois (UofI) was awarded $10 million by the Agriculture Department to provide the initial genome sequence of the pig.

U of I animal geneticists Lawrence Schook and Jonathon Beever recently provided a comparison of the human and pig genomes, and will now take their work to the next level.

“This is the ultimate comparison,” says Schook, project director. “We've had the pieces for the human genome and the pig in a side-by-side comparison. But now we'll be able to see how the various proteins in the genes work together to make, for example, a human toenail as opposed to a pig hoof.”

While there are remarkable similarities between pigs and humans, they are also very different. “There may be 2 or 3% of the genome that actually determine whether the organism becomes a pig or a human,” says Schook. “This information will show those differences.”

The $10 million will provide half the funds needed for the project. Funding commitments have also come from foreign countries, state pork producer associations and the National Pork Board ($750,000).

Clarification

In the article “PMWS Sweeps Across Ontario,” on page 15 in the Jan. 15, 2006 issue of National Hog Farmer, Canadian swine veterinarian Martin Misener discusses the impact that porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) has on sow herds.

The article incorrectly states that Misener successfully vaccinated sows and then injected them with Pulmotil to reduce the severity of the vaccine response. The article should have stated he used Pulmotil pre-mix in the feed.