Pork producers continue push for a farm bill fix to Proposition 12

U.S. pork producers continue to lobby Congress to find a legislative fix for California’s Proposition 12, the law requiring pork sold in California to be raised under strict guidelines.

Lori Stevermer, a Minnesota pork producer and president of the National Pork Producers Council says producers don’t want a patchwork of regulations across the country. “We are looking forward to the farm bill as finding a federal solution for Prop 12,” she says. “That’s what the Supreme Court said it’s an issue and it said that Congress needs to fix it. So, we’re looking to Congress to fix it.”

Stevermer says pork producers need certainty. “Even a producer who has made the change to become Prop 12 compliant, they’re worried about what the next state could do,” she says. “Maybe that’s 28, 29, 30 square feet.”

She says a recent study released by the USDA found prices of some pork products have gone up 20 percent in California since Prop 12 has been implemented. “We’re also seeing consumption of fresh pork declining 8 to 10%,” she says.  “So higher prices and lower availability is not the right situation in California, especially for those of individuals that already have concerns about food availability and food affordability.”

Bryan Humphreys, Chief Executive Officer for NPPC says the solution has to be bipartisan. “To ensure that we can provide stability to our producers to do what’s right for their farms and for their animals,” he says.  “And make sure that they can raise those animals in the best way that they know how on their farm.”

Humphreys says the organization is open to a standalone bill to address Prop 12, but the goal is to have a fix included in the next farm bill.

Members of the National Pork Producers Council are in Washington, D.C. this week meeting with members of Congress to discuss farm bill priorities and other regulatory concerns.  

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