The key to recovery is to support our industries and help them to remain relevant. As a country we need to reinvent ourselves as a service economy to regain our prosperity. We also need to support the sectors that are still competitive.
We can still produce food products very competitively, and we can help feed a growing world population. We are competitive because of applied technology and dynamic sciences utilized to make us more efficient. This makes up for some of the higher cost including labor our foreign competitors don’t have.
The food supply in the United States is among the safest in the world. Maintaining science-based food production is essential to maintaining our ability to compete. We must not allow 2% of the population, some who are vegans and vegetarians, to dictate how the other 98% eat and how we produce food. By 2050 our growing global population will require an estimated 100% more foodthan we produce today.
The current liberal administration needs to realize that the recent rounds of regulations are unrealistic and force producers to fight world competition with severe restriction. On July 1, 2011, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) implemented new Salmonella performance standards for young chickens and turkey that are very expensive to meet. Another proposed rule will allow contract growers discretion whether to make improvements on grow-out houses. The USDA said the rule would cost the pork industry from $11.5 million to $16.6 million and the poultry industry from $9.8 million to $55.5 million, mostly through loss of production efficiency as their industries adjusts to the rule.
Consumers think about food production but know very little about how their food is grown, according to a survey by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA). FSIS recently developed new compliance guidelines for residue prevention and agency residue testing, which it will announce in the Federal Register.
“Americans have a lot of questions about where their food comes from, how it is raised and if it is good for their health long-term,” said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
It’s up to our industry to educate them so they don’t embrace misguided regulations. The group also surveyed farmers and ranchers and found they share the same values as consumers on issues related to environmental stewardship and animal care. If allowed, the USDA will extend its jurisdiction to the farm.
According to USDA statements, pathogens know no organizational jurisdictions or physical boundaries. To truly improve food safety — to fight pathogens at every critical point before they reach consumers — will take a true farm-to-fork effort to combat them, American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle said in a statement.
“USDA’s new proposal to change the labeling of many raw meat and poultry products, while adding no new information not already required on the label, is both unnecessary and wasteful,” he said.
In theory the regulations are set up to protect the citizens from corporations who are only interested in making a quick buck. They will instead move us closer to being unable to competitively produce protein in this country.
We have improved our productivity and food safety dramatically in the last 50 years, and today, 95% of food-safety risk resides in the consumer’s kitchen.
Education of consumers should be a priority. Science-based solutions applied to food production will help us increase yields while improving safety and efficiencies. By doing this we can continue to drive out cost and improve our ability to compete with Brazil, Argentina, Australia and China in the world market.
We need to move forward not backward. Our current administration is oblivious to where food comes from and has no concept of what will be required to feed the world of the future.