Committee briefings overview and election results

October 12, 2023

During the 2023 Annual Conference, UEP elected new officers at the Board meeting on Oct. 5: Mike West as chair; J.T. Dean as vice chair; Sherman Miller as treasurer; and Sandra Lausecker as secretary. The Board also elected representatives for each respective Area, and 15 at-large members.

Matt Dean chaired the Government Relations Briefing, and UEP's consultants Randy Green and Louie Perry provided updates from Washington, D.C. As the 2018 farm bill has expired, there is no draft nor committee markups to the 2023 farm bill. Green and Perry discussed other legislation pertinent to the egg industry, including the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Actthe Food Date Labeling Act of 2023, the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act of 2023 and the Farm System Reform Act.

During the Food Safety Briefing, chaired by Karyn Kreher, Oscar Garrison, SVP of food safety and regulatory affairs, reviewed various FDA rules. Garrison reminded producers about the FDA's publishing of the final traceability rule entitled "Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods," and that shell eggs are included on the Food Traceability List (FTL). The compliance date for all persons subject to the recordkeeping requirements is Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2026.

Doug Mack chaired the Environment and Sustainability Briefing, and UEP consultants Tom Hebert and Lauren Lurkins gave an overview of current environmental issues. Hebert began the federal regulatory update by discussing the Air Consent Agreement and emission factors. Hebert and Lurkins also provided updates on recent CAFO rule developments, including environmentalist petitions to EPA and recent Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rulemakings.

Sherman Miller chaired the Animal Health and Biosecurity Briefing, and Oscar Garrison opened the briefing with a discussion on the status of HPAI, reminding producers to remain vigilant in biosecurity practices. Garrison and Green provided an update on the Healthy Poultry Assistance and Indemnification Act, which would expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) compensation program to all poultry growers and layer operations within a highly pathogenic avian influenza control area, rather than only infected flocks. Garrison and Chair Miller ended the briefing with an update on the Coryza outbreak and stressed the need to find solutions to help mitigate the challenges related to the disease.

Organic topics were first on the docket during the Animal Welfare Briefing, chaired by Roger Seger. Silvin Faulstich, with Respeggt Group, provided an update on the male chick situation in Europe and facilitated a discussion on finding scalable solutions in the U.S. Dr. Larry Sadler provided UEP Certified Program updates and shared the new Cage-Free Standards Comparison Chart. Before ending the briefing, Dr. Sadler also reminded producers that audits are due on Nov. 30.