Pork producers from across the country are gathering virtually this week, taking part in the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Legislative Action Conference (LAC).
Various topics are being discussed with lawmakers, including expanding market access to Vietnam, visa reform to address a livestock agriculture labor shortage, and foreign animal disease prevention.
“Trade remains crucial to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry, and Vietnam represents a significant market for our producers,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “Vietnam’s domestic pork production industry is struggling with African swine fever, yet unwarranted tariff and non-tariff barriers restrict the United States from supplying this major pork-consuming nation with affordable, high-quality pork.”
NPPC members are urging lawmakers to sign a letter co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, seeking her support for enhanced Vietnamese market access for U.S. pork. A copy of the letter is available here.
Plus, NPPC is advocating for meaningful labor reform. They note that producers offer jobs with good pay and benefits, but most Americans do not live near hog farms or harvest facilities and rural populations continue to decline. This causes the U.S. pork industry to be largely dependent on foreign-born workers. But, current visa programs fail to meet the workforce needs of pork producers and other year-round livestock farmers. NPPC is urging Congress to address labor reform that both opens the H-2A visa program to year-round labor, without a cap, and provides legal status for agricultural workers already in the country.
NPPC’s members are also addressing foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness priorities with lawmakers.