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Coalition urges congressional fix to California Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council joined forces with the American Farm Bureau Federation supporting a federal fix to California Proposition 12 be included in the 2024 Farm Bill.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned the House Agriculture Committee that unless Congress provides a solution to Prop 12, there will be “chaos in the marketplace.”
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned the House Agriculture Committee that unless Congress provides a solution to Prop 12, there will be “chaos in the marketplace.”
Andrea Gantz

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) joined forces with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to garner support from 900-plus agricultural stakeholders supporting the federal fix to California Prop 12 to be included in the 2024 Farm Bill

Laying out robust arguments in a letter to U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) on Prop 12’s damaging implications, the coalition highlighted the following:

  • Marketplace mayhem. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned the House Agriculture Committee that unless Congress provides a solution to Prop 12, there will be “chaos in the marketplace.” Secretary Vilsack also reiterated to the Senate Agriculture Committee that “farmers do not need the chaos; they need clarity and certainty.”
  • Patchwork of state laws to fuel consolidation. Absent congressional action, producers are “at risk of arbitrary and conflicting state laws across all 50 states … most severely harming small- and medium-sized farms by imposing massive compliance costs and forcing significant consolidation throughout agriculture.” University studies show that building “Proposition 12-compliant barns can cost 40% more than traditional barns … not including the estimated 15% higher operating costs caused by reduced productivity.” Larger farms will be able to better weather the cost, and small farms will be forced “to decide between exiting the business or entering into a production contract, resulting in fewer, larger farms owning a greater portion of sows in the U.S.”
  • International trade threat. According to the letter, Prop12 compliance weakens America’s ability to negotiate trade agreements “as countries could impose similar non-science based regional restrictions on U.S. exports.”  American agriculture is also concerned that Prop 12 puts its products at risk of retaliatory action, as Canada has already raised concerns.
  • Producers trapped by California law. Pork producers lack the luxury of choosing not to sell into the California market. As Secretary Vilsack also said to the Senate Agriculture Committee, “There is not a choice between doing business with California and not in California. You’re essentially going to be driven by that requirement.”
  • Freedom to farm protected. The House Farm Bill protects producers’ freedom to farm, but it also “continues allowing states to act independently, imposing laws that impact commerce within their borders and regulating practices occurring there.”
  • A bipartisan imperative. The U.S. Supreme Court and Secretary Vilsack agree that “only Congress has the authority to prevent ‘chaos’ in the marketplace and provide farmers the certainty they need.”

The letter includes signatures from over 40 states, as well as the following national organizations: the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference of American Trucking Associations, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, Beef Alliance, Livestock Marketing Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Lamb Feeders Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Turkey Federation, Rural & Agricultural Council of America, and U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, with a mission to protect the livelihoods of America’s 60,000+ pork producers.  AFBF, more informally called the American Farm Bureau or simply the Farm Bureau, is a U.S.-based 501 tax-exempt agricultural organization and lobbying group headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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