Members of the Farm Animal Welfare Coalition wrote President Barack Obama urging him to not appoint a White House animal protection liaison as advocated by the animal rights movement. The coalition said, “To politicize the care and compassion we routinely demonstrate with our animals implies our science and producer experience-based programs to enhance animal care, along with state anti-cruelty programs and the more than half dozen federal agencies charged with overseeing animal care and handling, are not working.” Those signing the letter were: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Soybean Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Livestock Marketing Association, National Pork Producers Council, National Renderers Association and United Egg Producers.

Producers Support Resolution to Stop GHG Regulations — Nearly 140 agricultural organizations are supporting Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution to disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding, which would block EPA from moving forward with regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In a letter to Senator Murkowski, the groups stated, “Without an effective international agreement on emission reductions, unilateral action by the United States only serves to further damage our economy and encourage businesses to relocate. EPA’s finding puts the agricultural economy at grave risk based on allegations of a weak, indirect link to public health and welfare and despite the lack of any environmental benefit.” Those signing the letter included American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Turkey Federation.

Hagen Nominated Under Secretary for Food Safety — President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Dr. Elisabeth Hagen as USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety. Hagen currently serves as the USDA’s Chief Medical Officer. She previously served at USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), where she worked to develop and execute FSIS’s scientific and public health agenda. Hagen holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a B.S. from Saint Joseph’s University.

Obama’s State of the Union Summarized — In his state-of-the-union address before Congress, President Barack Obama refocused his agenda to economic recovery and jobs with an emphasis on small business. He also emphasized the need to bring the staggering federal deficit under control by proposing a freeze on spending for various government programs and the need for pay-as-you-go requirements. He also established a goal of doubling U.S. exports. More details of the President’s plans will be announced on Feb. 1, when the administration releases its proposed fiscal year 2011 budget. With the federal deficit continuing to spiral out of control, President Obama is proposing to freeze government spending for three years. The freeze would be effective for fiscal year 2011 and limit the overall budget for agencies. Military, veteran affairs, homeland security and various international programs would be exempt from the freeze. This announcement comes the same week that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the deficit for fiscal year 2010 will reach $1.35 trillion due to the lagging economy. The federal deficit is becoming a major issue with the American public.

USDA Appoints National Pork Producers Delegate Body — USDA announced the appointment of 154 pork producers and six importers to the 2010 National Pork Producers Delegate Body scheduled to meet on March 4-6 in Kansas City, MO. All appointees will serve a one-year term. Delegates meet annually to recommend the rate of checkoff assessment, determine the percentage of assessments that state associations will receive and nominate producers and importers to the 15-member National Pork Board. The complete list can be found at www.usda.gov; click on “newsroom.”

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.