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Farm groups urge congress to fix California pork law

Farm groups urge congress to fix California pork law

By Jamie Martin

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the American Farm Bureau Federation are leading a coalition of nearly 1,000 agricultural stakeholders in urging Congress to address California's Proposition 12. The law, which regulates pork production standards, is seen as posing significant challenges to the industry nationwide.

The coalition fears the law will create "chaos in the marketplace" according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. A key concern is a potential patchwork of conflicting state laws arising if California's approach is adopted elsewhere.

This could disproportionately hurt small and medium-sized farms, forcing consolidation within the industry. Studies suggest building barns compliant with Prop 12 can be significantly more expensive than traditional ones.

Opponents also argue the law weakens the U.S. position in international trade negotiations. Other countries might impose similar restrictions on American exports, and retaliatory actions are a concern, as Canada has already expressed worries.

California's market size makes it difficult for producers to avoid compliance. As Secretary Vilsack noted, "There is not a choice" for many farmers. While the House Farm Bill protects farmers' rights, it also allows states to regulate within their borders.

The coalition emphasizes the need for a federal solution. They argue that only Congress can prevent market disruption and provide the certainty farmers need. The letter urging congressional action is supported by a bipartisan group and includes signatures from over 40 states and numerous national agricultural organizations.

Photo Credit: national-pork-producers-council

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