Egg producers upset about payment rates, sheep industry about China |

Egg producers upset about payment rates, sheep industry about China

Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa, D-Calif., left, and ranking member Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
Photo by Jerry Hagstrom/The Hagstrom Report

Egg producers are upset about the Agriculture Department’s proposals for payment rates for virus elimination, while sheep producers say that the China trade conflict is ruining the market for sheepskins.

The two industries testified Tuesday at a House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the state of livestock and poultry economies.

“We support the establishment of objective and equitable payment rates for the costs involved in animal disease outbreaks,” said David Will, a California egg producer.

“In particular, we have had serious concerns about USDA’s proposals for payment rates for virus elimination, that is, the costs of ensuring that an avian influenza virus is completely eliminated from an affected egg farm, “ Will said.

“We’ve shown in detailed comments that USDA has used unrealistic and outdated numbers in these calculations. Similarly, we have also encouraged USDA to review how it calculates indemnities that are paid to affected producers for the value of their lost production.

“We believe the cost of leaving facilities idle for an extended period of time after an outbreak, which is often required by USDA, should be taken into account in calculating indemnities. The type of eggs and the regions where they are produced should also be taken into account where they have different market values.”

At the same hearing, Steve Salmon, a Texas rancher and raiser of sheep, goats and cattle, said, “The current trade disruption with China has been tremendously challenging for our U.S. wool exports.”

“Prior to the implementation of tariffs, 72% of U.S. raw wool exports and 80% of U.S. sheepskins were sent to China,” Salmon said. “Since the implementation of tariffs, we have seen raw wool exports drop by 85% and sheep skin exports drop by nearly 70% in value.”

“Once a valuable asset, sheepskins now have either no value or even result in a loss to producers at the processing level. As the administration continues to review and implement ways to aid producers during what we hope is a short-term loss of this valuable market, we ask that wool and sheep skin producers be included in the conversation.”

All the livestock and poultry groups testified in favor of passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade and resolving immigration issues.

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