Proposition 12: What does it mean for pork producers?

California Proposition 12 presents significant challenges for U.S. pig farmers and has far-reaching implications beyond the pork industry.

The Facts:
In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California Proposition 12, a ballot initiative prohibiting the sale of whole, uncooked pork meat not produced according to the state’s new standards which require a minimum 24 square feet of space for breeding pigs and eliminate the use of individual pens that can protect sows when they are most
vulnerable. This is significant for pork producers across the country because:

• California’s population of nearly 40 million people is equal to 12% of the U.S. population.

• After accounting for different consumption patterns across ethnic groups, California
accounts for about 13-15% of domestic pork consumption, which equates to roughly 10% of U.S. production.

• California pig farms make up less than 0.1% of U.S. pork production. The cost of constructing Prop. 12-compliant barns is at least $3,400 to $4,000 per breeding pig (sow), based on average estimates from building contractors and producers. This is about 25% more expensive than conventional group housing and 40% more than individual stall housing with the same number of animals.

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