Farmers Could Face Layers of State Regs

Pork Producers Spotlight Risks if SCOTUS Doesn't Toss California's Prop 12


By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer 



WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Pork producers and other farmers nationally would be faced with meeting multiple conflicting state welfare standards if the U.S. Supreme Court lets California's Proposition 12 stand, National Pork Producers Council leaders said Thursday.


The Supreme Court will hear arguments from NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) on Oct. 11 against the state of California and the Humane Society of the United States over Proposition 12.


The proposition, California's Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, was passed by voters in 2018 and sets confinement standards for sows, veal calves and egg-laying hens, and bans the sale of any pork, veal or egg products that don't meet California's standards. The law seeks to apply California's standard on any pork product nationally that could be sold in the state.


The high court agreed to hear an appeal from NPPC and AFBF after the Ninth Circuit upheld the law. The farm groups argue California's law, which remains under an injunction, violates the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause.


NPPC leaders on Thursday talked to reporters about the case and the risks for farmers nationwide if the Supreme Court doesn't overturn California's law.


"California is free to regulate hog farms that are located in California," said Michael Formica, chief legal counsel for NPPC. "So, to the extent they want Proposition 12 to apply to those hog farms, that's well within their authority to do so. Our concern is when they reach out to Iowa, Minnesota or Missouri and try to tell those farmers what they are able to do."