January 5, 2023
UEP was established to bring American egg producers together, lead the industry through complex challenges and advance responsible egg production. In 2022, the egg industry experienced many peaks and valleys – the most notable challenge being HPAI detections surpassing the 2015 outbreak. With a well-equipped staff, consultants, and strong partnerships with other industry organizations, UEP and its farmer-members will persevere through adversity.
UEP continues to advocate for our members on HPAI issues:
- Collaborating with the National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation, UEP is meeting with APHIS in early January to regroup on HPAI strategies and discuss new actions to control the virus.
- Expert speakers will present on HPAI vaccines at our January meetings. Panelists include Julian Madeley, CEO of the International Egg Commission; Dr. David Swayne, Retired Lab Director of the Southeast Poultry Research Lab; and Dr. John Clifford, veterinary trade policy advisor for USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).
- The UEP-AEB Crisis Communication team continues to be available to assist producers and state partners with any media issues, customer inquiries or other questions or concerns related to HPAI.
- Producer guidance, APHIS documents and customer, employee and consumer communication resources are available at UnitedEgg.com/ai.
- In 2022, UEP held 15 HPAI member updates, with an average of 158 registrations per call and hundreds benefiting from the information shared by UEP staff and affected producers. Staff will continue communicating detections in layer flocks as needed.
- UEP also sponsored or helped facilitate several HPAI information sessions with APHIS and industry partners including the AI Lessons Learned Conference in August.
Legislative and regulatory
Advocacy and legislative support remain an integral part of UEP’s work. Through our government relations program, egg producers have seen notable successes in 2022.
- In 2022, the FDA proposed new regulations that will allow eggs to be labeled “healthy” on packing. The proposed rule eliminates cholesterol as a consideration for “healthy” claims and modifies the saturated fat limits in a way that permits eggs to make the claim. These proposed changes almost exactly align with the changes UEP called for when the FDA first asked for input several years back.
- Working with other barnyard groups, UEP was able to secure report language in the recently enacted 2023 FDA appropriation bill that expresses Congressional concern that egg imitators and other imitation proteins may confuse consumers and instructs the FDA to carry out consumer testing before providing guidance on how these products can be truthfully labeled.
- UEP consistently urged USDA to purchase more eggs and egg products for its feeding programs, especially programs that serve those most in need. In 2022, the USDA purchased 20 million pounds of eggs and egg products valuing $41 million.
- UEP has long suggested that indemnities for animal diseases are both inadequate and insufficiently transparent. In response to an invitation from APHIS, UEP and other groups have submitted comments suggesting improvements in the indemnity formulas, which become critical when farms are affected by avian influenza and other diseases.
- At UEP’s request, APHIS extended to 86 weeks the number that the agency uses to calculate avian influenza indemnities, providing additional assistance to affected farms.
- EGGPAC donations total $133,175, which is 107% of the $125,000 goal. EGGPAC continues to help amplify egg producers’ voices in D.C.
- During the 2022 election cycle, UEP’s DC team participated in more than 100 events for legislators who support the egg industry, including 60 just in this calendar year.
Collaboration with American Egg Board and other industry stakeholders is essential for success, and we had strong progress in our 2022 activities.
- UEP continues to monitor and report news about cage-free legislation in various states and continues work with state agencies to ensure consistent verification requirements for cage-free egg and egg products.
- UEP helped encourage strong participation in the industry’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) surveys and partnered with AEB and EIC throughout 2022 to help finalize the industry’s LCA. Look for the completed LCA report and guidance on key messaging later this year.
- Collaborative research continued between AEB/EIC/UEP on EPA air emissions factors on layer farms and efforts to make the case to EPA of the need to revise the emissions factors.
- US-RSPE launched the US-RSPE Sustainability Framework Reporting Tool. UEP staff and several UEP members were extensively involved in creating and testing the framework.
- UEP’s Fire Prevention and Mitigation Task Force and Manual was completed and sent to UEP members.
- Newly updated UEP Certified Training Videos in English and Spanish were completed.
- Updates to the UEP Certified Guidelines, based on recommendations by the Scientific Advisory Committee, will be implemented in 2024.
In 2023, the egg industry should expect to face more adversity, but our UEP team is ready to remain the united front for addressing the myriad of challenges in our ever-changing industry.
UEP reelected officers & staff updates
R to L: JT Dean (Treasurer), Craig Giroux (Chair), Mike West (Vice-Chair), Sherman Miller (Secretary)
In 2022, the UEP staff added Tabitha McCoy and Paul Montgomery to the team. McCoy joins the team as assistant director of accounting and will assume finance and accounting responsibilities when VP of Finance Sherry Shedd retires in 2023. Montgomery now serves as director of communications following Kathy Bryan’s retirement last month.
UEP continues to be grateful for the work of staff and devoted consultants: Hinda Mitchell (Inspire PR Group), Tom Hebert (Bayard Ridge Group LLC), Randy Green (Watson Green LLC), Louie Perry (Cornerstone Government Affairs), and Chris Ondeck (Proskauer).