Diverse Speakers Inform and Educate

May 23, 2019

A powerful lineup of speakers addressed issues important to the egg industry during the Legislative meetings and committee briefings.

USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach reviewed USDA efforts to stop virulent Newcastle Disease in California. Actions taken include allocating $45 million in additional funding and working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to eradicate the disease. Undersecretary Ibach also announced a recent USDA purchase of $10 million in shell and liquid eggs for food banks and voiced support of checkoff programs saying, “USDA understands the value of checkoff programs and will defend them.”

Jim Dean introduced Iowa Senator Joni Ernst stating, “She is a friend of the egg industry.” Senator Ernst addressed trade and tariffs concerns and spoke about the need to open new markets and provide bigger labor pools.  After speaking at the meeting, Senator Ernst met with Iowa producers and reiterated her support of an immigration solution for agriculture. The group also discussed the need to get animal ag pest and disease program up and running and the current legislative challenges to checkoffs, which Ernst opposes.

Joseph A. Levitt, a partner with Hogan Lovells and the former director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, spoke about whole genome sequencing (WGS), which is being used by the FDA and the CDC to identify Salmonella and other pathogens. Levitt, along with colleague Brian Eyink, spoke about the challenges WGS presents for the egg industry and guidance on protecting farms from unexpected WGS findings.  See “WGS Revolutionizing Food Safety.