Each year people from around the world come to World Pork Expo (WPX) and ask the question: what new things will I find there? So I asked Dr. Howard Hill, National Pork Producer Council (NPPC) president, veterinarian and Iowa pork producer, that question and his answer: a lot. A few highlights he mentioned included all the press conferences and seminars around PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus), the Junior National with record breaking entries, great new products and technologies and of course, all the pork you can eat. This was Tuesday night when we had a discussion of what to expect and true to his word, I stumbled across this great lighting innovation from Energyficient this afternoon (story video coming soon.)
The 2014 WPX is breaking several records including nearly 20,000 pork producers and related professionals from 32 countries along with an ever expanding expo that now includes more than 400 booths.
I also asked Hill about some of the work NPPC has been doing on behalf of their producers and the swine industry. Of note is the Water of the United States or WOTUS, a proposed regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as accompanying agriculture exemptions rules related to changes in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). Hill said several of these exemptions could negatively affect farmers and ranchers because the rule would redefine “waters of the United States” to include intermittent and ephemeral streams. This could potentially affect agriculture in various ways including application of manure on lands near such streams, for example, could be considered a discharge and require a CWA permit.
Another hot topic is the TPP or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pending trade agreement between 12 countries including United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.
However, Hill said Japan is asking for special concessions including keeping tariffs in tact, and that the U.S. will not budge on their proposed trade agreement. Should this TPP come to fruition, the legacy trade agreement will open the doors for trade agreements with other countries including the European Union. At this time, other countries in the proposed TPP have joined the U.S. in putting pressure on Japan to reduce their demands. Hill said at this time, while they would really like Japan to remain part of the trade agreement, they could drop out and join back in at a later time.
Now back to things new. This is the first year that USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will be speaking at WPX and while Hill is not certain about what he will be addressing, he believes he will discuss mandatory requiring of the PEDv virus as well as the status of the TPP.
Listen to my interview with Hill to learn more about all of the issues mentioned above. In addition, there will be more stories coming soon specifically related to all of the issues Hill mentioned.Innovation Galore at World Pork Expo
Check out the 2014 World Pork Expo photo album.