n 2018, California activists passed Proposition 12, which made it illegal to sell pork in that state from hogs born to sows raised in pens that don’t meet California’s arbitrary standards. This law could cost us and my fellow Illinois hog farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars to comply – at a time when we’re already losing money on every hog we sell.
Nearly 100% of sows in the United States are raised outside California, which means a lot of other hog farmers are in the same boat, because activists lied to voters about how we raise and care for our animals and falsely claimed giving pigs more space would benefit them and public health. California’s own agriculture department even said the initiative would have little effect on animals and would provide no public health benefit. However, they believe it will ultimately lead to increased costs for working families at the grocery store and the state’s food programs, such as school meals for hungry children.
If we want to continue farming, Proposition 12 will undoubtedly raise the cost of producing pork for us and other hog farmers, which jeopardizes an Illinois industry that contributes $3.3 billion in economic value and supports nearly 34,000 jobs.
If we want to continue the legacy of our family farms, we cannot disregard California’s 40 million consumers. Hog farmers need our congressional lawmakers to find a solution to this issue. Reps. Nikki Budzinski and Eric Sorensen are allies and champions of Illinois agriculture, and we are counting on them more than ever to help protect us from California’s overregulation.
Submitted by pork producers
Darrell Stitzel, Shannon, Ill.
Phil Borgic, Raymond, Ill.
Jeff Bolomey, Carlinville, Ill.
This letter to the editor originally appeared in The Pantagraph and is reposted with permission.