California’s Proposition 12 Raises International Concerns

Farmscape for April 8, 2022

Iowa Minnesota Presentation 46:15 Listen

The President of Minnesota Pork Producers warns California’s Proposition 12 will have an impact on pork production practices not only throughout the United States but also in Canada. Proposition 12, a California ballot initiative passed in 2018, imposes new minimum space requirements for calves raised for veal, breeding sows and laying hens, restricts the use of certain production practices and bans the sale of product in California from any farm that fails to meet those standards. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider a National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau Federation petition which questions the constitutionality of one state imposing regulations on another. John Anderson, the President of Minnesota Pork Producers, told delegates attending Manitoba Pork’s 2022 Annual General Meeting the case has implications for all pork producers.

Clip-John Anderson-Minnesota Pork Producers:
California consumes 13 percent of the pork produced in the United States. The have a minute sow heard, I’ve heard five thousand sows so they import pretty much all of their pork from other states and, as an organization, we just think that one state can’t dictate to another state what type of production practices they should use. As producers, it’s very expensive to retrofit barns, to build new barns to make it compliant to the new California law, for which the rules haven’t really been written yet, so you don’t know how to build your barn.
One of the unknows is what is Proposition 12, what are the regulations? How is it going to get implemented, are there going to be audits?
How are we going to know the difference? If I go out and spend 30 percent more on building a new sow farm, how do I know that I’m going to get the value for that and that that pork has actually gone through the system to get to California.

Anderson notes Minnesota imports close to a million isoweans per year from Manitoba while Iowa imports another 1.5 million to two million per year and the farms that produce those isoweans will be subject to the same regulations.

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