California Pork Industry Urges Congress to Ban State-Specific Regulations

The National Pork Producers Council is urging Congress to pass national legislation prohibiting state-specific regulations on pork production, like California's Proposition 12, which has increased food costs nationwide. The pork industry argues Prop. 12 violates the Constitution and creates a patchwork of state regulations they don't want to deal with.

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California Pork Industry Urges Congress to Ban State-Specific Regulations

California Pork Industry Urges Congress to Ban State-Specific Regulations

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling on Congress to pass national legislation prohibiting state-specific regulations on pork production, such as California's Proposition 12, in the upcoming farm bill. The 2018 ballot measure, which prohibits the sale of pork in California if the pig was raised in confined conditions, has created interstate commerce issues and is increasing food costs nationwide.

Under Prop. 12, pork farmers across the country must comply with California's housing standards, costing them an average of $3.5 million. This has led to a 20% increase in pork prices in California on average compared to other states, with pork loin prices surging by 41% and wholesale prices jumping by 30%. As a result, pork consumption in the state has declined by 10%.

The NPPC argues that Prop. 12 violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and creates a "patchwork of state regulations" that the industry does not want to deal with on a state-by-state basis. The pork industry has exhausted all legal options and is now urging Congress to address the problem through federal legislation in the upcoming farm bill.

Why this matters: California's Prop. 12 not only impacts pork producers and consumers within the state but also has extensive consequences for the entire U.S. pork industry and food prices nationwide. The NPPC's call for federal intervention highlights the need for a unified approach to animal welfare standards and the prevention of state-level regulations that can disrupt the market and drive up costs for both farmers and consumers.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has testified to Congress that they need to address this issue, warning of market consequences if left unresolved. The NPPC emphasizes that national legislation is necessary to provide certainty for producers and ensure affordable pork prices for consumers. The organization is also focused on other priorities in the upcoming farm bill, such as promoting pork exports and recommitting to aggressive trade policies.

Key Takeaways

  • NPPC calls for federal legislation to override CA's Prop 12 on pork production.
  • Prop 12 has increased pork prices in CA by 20% and reduced consumption by 10%.
  • NPPC argues Prop 12 violates Commerce Clause, creates patchwork of state regulations.
  • USDA warns of market consequences if issue left unresolved, NPPC seeks national law.
  • NPPC also focused on promoting pork exports, aggressive trade policies in farm bill.