Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Chairman Rouzer: Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture: The Next Farm Bill: Livestock Perspectives

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Washington, March 21, 2017 | comments
Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon, and thank you all for gathering here again this afternoon as the Committee continues its work to reauthorize the farm bill prior to its expiration next fall.

Last month this subcommittee held a hearing on the importance of USDA’s trade promotion and market development programs and the benefits they bring to the agricultural sector as a whole. Today we will highlight a variety of issues facing the livestock industry.

From wildfires across the Plains, to recently confirmed cases of high path avian influenza in Tennessee, to an ongoing battle against cattle fever ticks in South Texas, there is no shortage of challenges facing America’s livestock producers. On top of that, there are a host of ill-conceived and burdensome federal regulations to contend with, including the so called “GIPSA rules” that threaten producers’ longstanding marketing arrangements and the National Organic Program standards that go well beyond the scope of the law by mandating animal welfare practices. I know that livestock producers are a resilient bunch, but I am hopeful that the new Administration will continue efforts to roll back these regulations, just as they did with the disastrous Waters of the United States rule.

I am eager to hear from the industry leaders here today about how all of these issues are affecting your operations, which USDA programs and initiatives have proven most beneficial in mitigating those effects, and what sort of tweaks might need to be made to those programs in the next farm bill. In addition to enhancing and supporting existing programs, I understand that that there is widespread interest in a new provision designed to bolster the United States’ ability to respond to the potential outbreak of devastating animal diseases—namely Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). In exploring the linkages between agriculture and national security last Congress, this subcommittee developed a better understanding of the devastation that would result from such an outbreak and the need to improve our response capability. I look forward to hearing more specifics today about your proposals for establishing and funding such an effort.

Again, thank you all for being here. I now yield to the Ranking Member for his remarks.
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