Urgent action needed - Congress faces chaos over Prop 12

USAgNet - 02/19/2024

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack underscores the urgent need for federal action on state animal welfare laws such as California's Proposition 12, emphasizing the potential for market chaos.

Prop 12, regulating housing requirements for pigs, poses challenges to producers as more states adopt similar regulations, risking a patchwork of conflicting rules. Vilsack warns of the detrimental impact on the meat market if Congress fails to address the issue promptly.

Pork producers express concerns over interstate commerce rules and the potential for price volatility resulting from compliance costs. The pork industry faces challenges with weak demand and high supply exacerbated by difficulties entering the California market post-Prop 12.

House Agriculture Chairman Glenn Thompson highlights the need for congressional intervention to regulate interstate commerce effectively.

Vilsack acknowledges the complexity of the issue, citing the need to balance federal oversight with states' rights. He emphasizes the importance of consistency in addressing challenges posed by state regulations.

Despite efforts by the USDA to provide relief to the pork industry, challenges persist, with certain pork prices rising significantly since Prop 12's implementation.

The USDA focuses on bolstering local and regional farm supply chains to support smaller producers and mitigate the impact of national distribution challenges.Vilsack anticipates a transitional period for farmers as they navigate market dynamics and weigh participation in broader markets versus localized distribution.


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