Mindi Schneider, Cornell University researcher, says China's bid for Smithfield is just one of many avenues that nation is exploring to meet the growing demand for pork by Chinese consumers:
"Pork, it's the so-called national food in China. It's really the preferred meat. One of the challanges of increasing production and consumption is that China has 21% of the world's population and only 9% of the world's arable land. So, the way that China's been able to increase it's pork production is by importing feed. So, I think buying Smithfield would be another way in insure a supply of pork for China."
Members of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) were in Washington this past week to discuss policy issues and visit with lawmakers during another crucial point in the quest for a five year farm bill. In addition to farm policy, corn growers talked with members of Congress about the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the role of biotech crops in trade talks with the European Union.
During the organization’s annual Corn Congress, NCGA delegates also elected five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.
Another Step Forward on Farm Bill
Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow asked unanimous consent on the Senate floor last week to move to a conference with the House on the farm bill. Stabenow called the action – which will send the farm bill back to the House and set the stage for a conference and the appointment of conferees – a very important step. Despite the twists and turns to this point – Stabenow expressed confidence that Congress will approve a bipartisan farm bill.
Continued Push for RFS Repeal
A group of House Republicans – the Republican Study Committee – is calling for repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The group is framing the program as an expensive and unwanted federal mandate that Americans don’t want and businesses can’t afford. According to Virginia Representative Bob Goodlatte – the fact that the federal government would put its big thumb on one side of the scale between the use of corn for food and the use of corn for fuel is a wrong approach to begin with.