nppc_logoThe new president of the National Pork Producers Council is an Iowan. John Weber raises hogs near the Tama County town of Dysart.

Weber says one of the challenges facing the pork industry this year, and going into 2017, will be working on agricultural issues with newly-elected members of Congress and a new president.

“We’re going to have a whole new administration, quite a few House members and nearly a third of the Senate will be all-new for us to work with as we get into the latter part of the year,” Weber says. “That’s always a big challenge for NPPC when you have an administrative turnover. It’s our job to make contact with those people and bring them up to speed on what the pork industry is about.”

Weber says another big challenge will be dealing with new government regulations on the use of antibiotics on livestock. “The science is far from definitive,” Weber says. “We feel it’s the right thing to do, for us to do what we’re asked to do, to reduce the use of antibiotics, to keep good records. We’ll be required to keep a minimum of two years of antibiotic usage records and to be more responsible in the handling of antibiotics.”

Weber says he’s optimistic about the demand for pork, both on the export front and at home. “Production looks really strong heading into the balance of ’16,” Weber says. “Overall, domestic demand, export demand has been excellent for pork and if we can keep moving the pork, we’re going to get through 2016 just fine.” Weber says yet another goal during his tenure is to try and convince Congress to ratify the trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)