Proposition 12 Threatens to Raise Pork Prices in California

Farmscape for June 13, 2022

Full Interview 12:03 Listen

An economist with Partners for Production Agriculture predicts, if provisions contained in Proposition 12 move forward, it will increase the price of pork for consumers in California. The constitutionality of Proposition 12, a ballot initiative passed in 2018 which calls for a ban on the sale of pork in California that fails to meet California standards for housing sows, is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court and was a key topic discussed last week during World Pork Expo. Dr. Steve Meyer, an economist with Partners for Production Agriculture, says the implications are that it’s going to raise the price of pork to California.

Clip-Dr. Steve Meyer-Partners for Production Agriculture:
Certainly, it cost more to raise for that is compliant for California. Packers are making deals with producers to pay them more for pigs that will produce Prop 12 compliant pork, so we presume that price will be passed on to California consumers. I feel bad for people of modest means in California. The people that got this passed probably don’t even eat pork and yet they’re going to cost a lot of lower income people in California a lot of money and it’s a bad situation. It’s going to require more space on farms, it’s going to outlaw the use of breeding crates which will probably lower the farrowing rate on compliant farms anywhere by anywhere from five to seven percent. It’ll increase sow injuries and sow mortality and so the cost is going to be higher there.

There’s no question. And we don’t have nearly enough sows converted yet in the U.S. industry.
California accounts for about 10 percent of our consumption and so I figure they need 600 to 650 thousand sows to do that. We’re somewhere south of 300 yet so we’re still way short. If it went in tomorrow, California would not have nearly enough pork.

Dr. Meyer notes the Supreme Court isn’t expected to hear the case until October and a decision is unlikely before January so things are still pending.

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