Strong attendance at UEP Atlanta meetings

February 6, 2020

Committee briefings provided updates and practical resources

Over 200 UEP and UEA members and industry stakeholders gathered in Atlanta on January 27 for informative committee briefings.

After opening comments by Chair J.T. Dean, UEP’s VP of Animal Welfare, Dr. Larry Sadler, reported on the recent growth of the UEP Certified Program at the Animal Welfare briefing.  Sadler reviewed UEP Certified Program changes and announced the Desk Audit subcommittee is now established: Dan Gorecki, Kurt Kreher, Craig Willardson, Veterinarians Dr. Sato (Iowa State University), Dr. Johnson (AVMA), and Dr. Sadler. Other items covered included updates on state welfare legislative issues and an overview of UEP’s successful defense of the UEP Certified Program.

Chair Cliff Lillywhite opened the Food Safety Briefing and introduced Jeff Hendricks, the AMS national shell egg supervisor who reviewed the agency’s sanitation requirements. Drs. Darrin Karcher and Deanna Jones introduced plant sanitation training videos developed by AMS, ARS and Purdue Extension. The videos provide detailed information about effective sanitation for processing facilities.

Food Safety Committee Meeting

Vice-Chair Karyn Kreher and SVP of Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Oscar Garrison, explained the process for populating the Food Safety Advisory Council. Garrison named the experts who have agreed to be on the council. He also reviewed the Proposition 12 draft document issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Deanna Jones announced an additional researcher is being added to USDA Agricultural Research Services and asked for input from producers on areas of research needed in egg production.

Chair Rob Knecht opened the Government Relations briefing.  He introduced Randy Green and Louie Perry, UEP’s legislative consultants, who reviewed topics for position papers for UEP’s Washington, D.C. Legislative meetings. The committee chose papers on immigration, labeling of plant-based egg imitators, and opposition to anti-checkoff bills. A summary of UEP’s proactive food safety initiatives and cage-free transition challenges will also be presented to legislators in May.

USDA’s Summers

Administrator Bruce Summers, Mark Perigen and Jeff Hendricks of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provided grading and policy updates. Green and Perry presented updates on appropriations, immigration reform, trade, the FDA regulatory agenda and shared draft letters to the FDA and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service on food labeling.

In the Animal Health and Biosecurity Briefing, chaired by Sherman Miller, Garrison gave an overview of the Farm Bill funding allocated for animal disease preparedness and response. Industry partners Gene Petit and Jim Chakeres provided an update on Coryza in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Debbie Murdock provided the latest information on virulent New Castle disease in California.

Chairman Steve George opened the Environment Committee Briefing and members provided updates by state. Tom Hebert, UEP’s Environmental Consultant, announced the replacement WOTUS rule was issued last week (see page 6). He also provided background on the Clean Air Act and Air Consent Agreements and how the drafts for the layer sector, expected to be issued this year, may affect producers. Hebert presented a webinar for committee members on January 23 and will schedule another webinar for all UEP members when the emission factors are issued. He also presented the NCFC Field Guide for Sustainability, a practical guide for creating a sustainability plan for producers.