July 15, 2003
News in Brief
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) the last week of May submitted comments on the proposed rule regarding Trade Adjustment Assistance for farmers.
ASI believes the program could provide welcome technical and financial assistance to U.S. sheep producers who have been struggling with a huge influx of imported lamb and the significant price underselling of that competing product. The ratio of lamb imports to U.S. production has increased from 12.8 percent in 1993 to 53.7 percent in 2002.
Throughout the comments, ASI suggested program adjustments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in order to assure the inclusion of the sheep industry in this program. Analysis conducted by ASI under the current formula, as spelled out in the authorizing legislation, would not likely have sheep producers eligible in 2003. However, if eligible in future years, financial assistance could be available. In closing, ASI stressed that the Trade Adjustment Assistance program could be provided in a manner that would help serve the adjustment needs of an import-sensitive industry such as the domestic sheep industry.
Crop Disaster Program
June 6 designates the beginning of the sign-up period for the Crop Disaster Program (CDP). CDP is part of the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003, which President George W. Bush signed into law in February 2003.
The program provides payments to producers for qualifying losses to agricultural crops due to damaging weather or related conditions. In order to qualify, the damages must be in excess of 35 percent. Each producer will have a choice of receiving payments for the 2001 or the 2002 crops -- but not both -- and must choose the same year for all crops for all farms.
For additional information on this crop assistance program, log on to http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov/ or contact your local Farm Service Agency office.
HFAC Unveils ?Certified Humane? Food Label
The Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) on May 21 unveiled the ?Certified Humane Raised and Handled? labeling and certification program. Consumers who purchase products bearing the label, says HFAC, will instantly be assured that the meat, poultry, egg or dairy products came from animals raised at facilities meeting precise and objective standards for farm animal treatment.
Supporting HFAC in its work to certify and administer the new label are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as well as a number of regional and local animal welfare organizations.
To qualify as part of the program and to carry the ?Certified Humane? label on food packaging, producers and processors must meet a rigorous set of Animal Care Standards. They include: (1) offering sufficient space, shelter and company of same-species animals to limit stress; (2) protecting an animal?s health through disease prevention; and (3) assuring good nutrition, including ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains full health and vigor.
Under the system, added growth hormones are prohibited and animals are raised on a regular diet of quality feed, free of antibiotics. Producers also must comply with environmental standards while processors must comply with the American Meat Institute Standards, a higher standard for slaughtering farm animals than the Federal Humane Slaughter Act.
Copies of the ?Certified Humane? standards are available on the World Wide Web at www.certifiedhumane.com
Australian Meat Industry Council
The merger of Australian Meat Council (AMC) and National Meat Association of Australia (NMAA) has resulted in a new organization called the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC).
AMIC will become the peak body for Australia?s red meat processor, wholesalers, retailers, exporters and small goods operators, commented Meat News Daily. It will ensure that Australia?s red meat industry tackles issues of concern with one voice and has a united vision for the future.