Eight representatives from the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA) traveled to Washington, D.C. for two days as part of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) legislative action conference.
While there, Mike Haag (Current IPPA President), Pam Janssen (IPPA President Elect), Dale Wietekamp (IPPA Vice President), Jason Propst (District 8 Director), Bob Frase (At-Large Director), Phil Borgic (NPPC board member), and Jennifer Tirey (IPPA Executive Director) conducted 20 meetings, one with each member of the Illinois Congressional delegation.
Key issues discussed during those meetings were: visa reform to support a viable workforce for U.S. agriculture, the importance of positive trade relations, especially the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), keeping food affordable by allowing producers the opportunity to choose their production methods, and export relations with Thailand.
This two-day event allows pork producers from Illinois the chance to join fellow producers from across the states in the United States Capitol. “One-on-one conversations with our Illinois congressional members, and their staff, gives us an opportunity to advocate for our industry and get in front of issues that impact us,” says Haag, current IPPA President.
The U.S. pork industry is suffering from a serious labor shortage that undermines its commitment to the highest standards of animal care. Current visa programs widely used by pork producers are not effectively addressing the issue. Without visa reform to support a viable workforce for U.S. agriculture, animal welfare is jeopardized, and production costs will increase, leading to higher food prices for consumers.
Illinois pig farmers depend on solid trade relationships with countries, such as Canada and Mexico. Losing the NAFTA agreement would cost the United States pork industry $1.5 billion.
Source : Illinois Pork Producers Association