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Food Safety and Processing Perspective

Terrence O’Keefe, WATT’s content director, provides his perspective on everything from animal agriculture trends that impact our food chain to food-safety related issues affecting chicken and egg production. O’Keefe has covered the poultry industry as an editor for more than a decade and also brings his experience in plant management and poultry production to comment on today’s issues.
Egg Production

Egg producers need to rally to pass the Egg Bill

May 24, 2013

After two days of speeches offering encouragement to United Egg Producers members to lobby their representatives and senators to support the Egg Bill, I was surprised by the seeming lack of enthusiasm in the room on the third and final day of the cooperative’s legislative board meeting in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Denham, R-Calif., 10th district, tried to ramp up the energy in the room when he told cooperative members the he believes the Egg Bill “is the right thing to do nationally.” He explained that there has been tremendous turnover of members of the House in the last two elections and said that 60 percent of the members in his conference have been in Congress for less than four years. He said that this provides egg producers an opportunity to educate these new members about the Egg Bill and let them know why this is so important for egg producers.

In answer to a question, Denham said that egg producers will need to explain to Republican representatives why a national standard is needed to overcome their possible predisposition against federal government intervention. He then said that the Humane Society of the United States can be instrumental in getting more support for the Egg Bill from Democrat representatives.

In my opinion, it was never going to be an easy task to negotiate the Egg Bill through Congress. After three days of attendance at the United Egg Producers’ public briefings in Washington, D.C., I was left with one very strong impression: if egg producers really want to pass the Egg Bill, they better get reenergized, now. I can predict with certainty that the Egg Bill will not pass if egg producers don’t put forth a maximum effort.

Using a sports metaphor, the game just went into overtime. What egg producers did in the first four quarters doesn’t matter, it is a new game. Egg producers shouldn’t get discouraged when they hear a “no” from a member of Congress. Not every member of Congress has to vote for the Egg Bill to get it included in the Farm Bill and made into law, just a majority. Successful salesmen are like good hitters; they know that they are going to swing and miss more often than they hit a home run, but they also know they can’t hit it out of the park if they keep the bat on their shoulder.

Now isn’t the time to be discouraged; now is the time for action. If egg producers want the Egg Bill to become law, it is up to them to step up to the plate and take a swing. Call your representatives and tell them why you need them to support the Egg Bill. Don’t be a bystander; grab a bat and step up to the plate. The one certainty is that the Egg Bill won’t pass without your action. 

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