Oklahoma Pork Council Supports TPP and Dietary Guidelines ProgressMon, 12 Oct 2015 17:47:13 CDT
There is good news coming out for Oklahoma's pork producers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations successfully concluded last Monday. That's positive for an industry that has become more reliant on export sales. Oklahoma Pork Council Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey said getting TPP implemented will give pork producers more access to 11 other countries that represent 40 percent of the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Pork is the meat of choice for the Asian Pacific region. He said many of these TPP countries already buy pork, but this agreement will boost sales. For example, Japan is one of the largest markets for volume and value of U.S. pork.
"If we can do things that reduce the gate price in Japan, that reduce some of those quotas, some of those tariffs and allow us to sell more product into a market that already likes U.S. pork, the upside for us is tremendous," Lindsey said.
U.S. pork exports bring higher returns to the U.S. hog farmer. Lindsey said in 2014, trade added about $62 on every head. America has free trade agreements with 20 countries around the world. Because of those agreements, he said the U.S. ships more pork to those 20 countries, than the rest of the world combined.
The U.S. pork industry also got some relief over the pending dietary guidelines. Last week, the House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to review the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The two Obama Administration officials jointly addressed whether "sustainability" should be considered in the policy that the government establishes on what the American public should be eating. The Secretaries said the two government agencies will remain within the scope of the mandate established in the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA). Lindsey said this was an important outcome for U.S. farmers.
"If we're talking about providing lunches in our schools, if we're talking about feeding our neighbors, if we're talking about feeding the world, an ever growing world population, we've got to have some confinement operations, we've got to embrace technology and those were all things that this advisory committee was pushing back against, saying we don't want," Lindsey said. "And, ultimately that was all outside the scope of what they were tasked to do and this week the Secretaries told us, we're going to follow the law and the law says use the best science available on nutrition and that's what we're going to do. Big win, I think for all of America."
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Lindsey at the 2015 Tulsa State Fair. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to hear the full conversation.
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