The House of Representatives passed the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2010. This legislation renews mandatory price reporting for beef, pork, lamb, and adds dairy products for five years. The legislation modifies existing law by requiring mandatory reporting of wholesale pork cuts in order to expand transparency in the pork industry. It also requires USDA to establish within one year an electronic price reporting system for dairy products. The Senate passed the bill earlier this summer, so the bill now goes to President Obama for his consideration. The legislation was supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Sheep Industry Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Pork Producers Council, National Meat Association and the United States Cattleman’s Association.

Veterinary Services Investment Act Passed — The House of Representatives passed legislation to address the growing concern of the need for more large animal veterinarians. The Veterinary Services Investment Act would establish a competitive grant program at USDA to support efforts to increase access to veterinary care in underserved areas. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said, “Rural areas are facing a critical and growing shortage of large animal veterinarians. These veterinarians are the first lines of defense against animal disease and a crucial player in ensuring the safety of our food. This bill will encourage veterinarians to serve these areas where their skills are needed.” The legislation was authored by Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE).

USDA Accepts 4.3 Million Acres for CRP — USDA has announced it will accept 4.3 million acres offered by landowners under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. USDA received more than 50,000 offers on more than 4.8 million acres. USDA selected offers for enrollment based on an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) comprised of five environmental factors, plus cost. The five environmental factors are: wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality. The average rental rate per acre for this sign-up is approximately $46. The minimal acceptable EBI level for this signup is 200. This sign-up will bring the total enrollment for CRP to 31.3 million acres. The farm bill caps total enrollment at 32 million acres.

Pork and Cattle Producers Hit Capitol Hill — Pork and cattle producers from throughout the United States were in Washington, DC, last week to visit their senators and congressmen to discuss important issues for both industries. Issues raised were the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rule on livestock and poultry, antibiotic use in animals, food safety, tax policy and trade. Both the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held Congressional receptions, which were highly attended by congressional members and their staffs.

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