House ag holds livestock hearing as senators introduce Prop 12 bill |

House ag holds livestock hearing as senators introduce Prop 12 bill

The House Agriculture Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Subcommittee held a hearing last week on stakeholder views on the farm bill as several senators introduced a bill that would prohibit state and local governments from setting rules on the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states.
The Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 12, a law that would stop the sale of pork in California if it has not been raised under certain conditions.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to live in a state where it’s almost impossible to buy bacon. But California wants to impose such a rule on its residents,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, one of the senators who introduced the bill.
“Iowa has an abundance of agricultural products to offer and folks from coast to coast should be able to enjoy them. I’m glad to sponsor this bill which will protect Iowa farmers and producers and allow them the freedom to operate their farms as they see fit.”
At the hearing, the North American Meat Institute and the National Pork Producers Council testified about their concerns about Prop 12.
Bryan Burns, vice president and associate general counsel of the North American Meat Institute, said, “The Prop 12 decision will embolden anti-animal agriculture groups to pursue ballot measures in other states and localities.”
“The decision opens the door to chaos in interstate commerce through state-by-state trade barriers, not just for meat and poultry products, but for any agricultural or manufactured products not meeting standards set by another state. No industry can operate when facing 50 different standards.
“It is worth noting that with the court’s decision, similar restrictions will be allowed to go into effect in Massachusetts under that state’s ballot initiative, Question 3.
“It is estimated that California represents about 13 to 15% of U.S. pork consumption. Based on the population in Massachusetts, it can be assumed that an additional 2% or more of U.S. pork consumption would be subject to these rules.
“Our industry, like any other, needs certainty. But any federal solution requires deliberation and careful drafting to ensure it is legally sufficient,” Burns said.
Scott Hays, president of the National Pork Producers Council, said, “The implications of the decision will go far beyond the farm.”
“With higher costs and fewer choices, every American will be impacted by this decision. We stand behind the right of farmers everywhere and consumers across the country — and we look forward to working constructively to find a reasonable solution.”
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