|Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning everyone. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing to consider the state of the livestock and poultry economies.
We are meeting today against the backdrop of incredibly difficult times in the agricultural industry. Our producers find themselves in a precarious spot after facing several years of extreme weather, volatile feed costs, uncertain export markets and constant pressure to protect their herds and flocks from disease.
Whether it’s African Swine Fever, labor shortages, FDA’s misguided animal biotech strategy, Newcastle disease – take your pick – the animal agriculture sector faces significant threats that are capable of devastating not only individual farmers, but the broader rural economy.
In May, this subcommittee heard from Undersecretary Greg Ibach about USDA’s prevention and response capabilities for animal pest and disease threats. As we discussed in that hearing, thanks to the efforts of the livestock industry and my colleagues specifically in the House of Representatives, the 2018 Farm Bill made a historic investment in the tools needed for USDA and various partners to identify, diagnose and respond to these threats. This committee continues to engage with the department, and we are excited to see progress being made on farm bill implementation.
Perhaps the most important thing that this Congress can do to improve not just the livestock and poultry economies, but the entire agricultural sector, is to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. According to the U.S International Trade Commission, the increased market access for dairy products with U.S.-specific TRQs and the elimination of Canada’s Class 6 and Class 7 milk pricing will lead to a net increase in U.S. production of almost $227 million. For poultry, eggs and egg products, the U.S. maintains excellent access to Mexico, its top market for those products, and will see an increase in Canada’s TRQs for turkey, chicken, eggs and egg products, with exports of some products expected to grow nearly 50 percent. Further, there are numerous protections and benefits across the livestock and poultry sector in the new agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary standards. With all our farmers and ranchers are going through, it is vital that we pass USMCA as soon as possible.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank each of the witnesses for providing your testimony and insight today. The time spent away from your families and operations is not lost on us, and we greatly appreciate your commitment to providing this committee with timely information to help us do our jobs. I look forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing. With that, I yield back.