Pork producer says Prop 12 specifications don’t make sense for their operation

A first-generation pork producer says his family hasn’t made any changes to their operation to become compliant with California’s Proposition 12.

Mark Legan has a breed-to-wean facility west of Indianapolis. “As my daughter would say, we had open pen gestation before it was cool,” he says. Proposition 12 is the law that requires pork sold in California to be raised under strict guidelines. He tells Brownfield retrofitting their operation didn’t make sense. “Moving to a Prop 12 compliance system would increase our cost somewhere between 20% and 25%,” he says.  “We really didn’t see the value in that.”

While his facilities aren’t Proposition 12 compliant, Legan says the system he uses does provide a value-add opportunity. “We are garnering a premium on our pigs that go to slaughter because of the open pen gestation status,” he says. Proposition 12 hasn’t just raised costs for producers, a recent study from the USDA found prices of some pork products have gone up by as much as 20 percent in California since the law was fully implemented.

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