Public comments to USDA request policy solutions to help food and agriculture in the future
WASHINGTON, DC – The Pet Food Institute (PFI), the national trade association representing America’s dog and cat food and treat makers, submitted public comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) highlighting the pet food industry’s close connection with American agriculture and the important factors that influence the industry’s supply chain and manufacturing. The USDA’s request for comments follows the White House issuance of Executive Order 14017, America’s Supply Chains, which seeks to identify and address supply chain challenges throughout the U.S. economy. PFI submitted feedback to help the agency better improve the supply chain following the COVID-19 pandemic and understand additional risks for the future.
“As the entire food system faced incredible disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. pet food makers were also forced to address new ingredient sourcing and transportation challenges,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “America’s dog and cat food makers responded with resiliency and are hard at work making nutritionally balanced food for our pets, but PFI is asking the Biden administration to identify policy solutions that will help further strengthen all of American food and agriculture for the future.”
In submitted comments, PFI stressed the strong relationship between America’s pet food makers and U.S. agriculture as a whole. By largely using the by-products of human food production that provide the essential nutrition pets need, pet food makers help support the agricultural economy and purchase $6.9 billion in ingredients. U.S. pet food makers produce 10 million tons of dog and cat food using farm-based products such as commodity crops, meat and poultry products, rendered animal protein and fishery products.
PFI’s comments noted that as the pandemic wreaked disruption across the U.S. food system, pet food makers saw impacts on the cost and availability of their ingredients. The industry faces additional increased cost and availability challenges for animal- and plant-based oils and fats due to federal and state mandates and incentives promoting renewable fuel production.
Among other identified issues, PFI commented on the impact of transportation and infrastructure challenges. Pet food makers were among the many industries negatively impacted by additional forces, such as reduced truck driver availability and disruption to power generation and distribution. As the industry works to meet the demand of dog and cat food for the more than two-thirds of U.S. households with a pet, PFI asks the Biden administration to identify and create sound policies now that will help reduce the vulnerability for all of food and agriculture in the future.
Full comments submitted to the docket are available at www.petfoodinstitute.org.