California Prop 12 will hurt Iowa farmers

Trish Cook
Posted 8/10/23

Iowa pig farmers care about their animals. We raise them from birth, feed them, nurture them, take care of their medical needs, and provide climate-controlled housing to ensure pigs are comfortable …

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California Prop 12 will hurt Iowa farmers

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Iowa pig farmers care about their animals. We raise them from birth, feed them, nurture them, take care of their medical needs, and provide climate-controlled housing to ensure pigs are comfortable during the hot Iowa summers and frigid Iowa winters. Our animals’ health and well-being are top priorities.

My family owns and operates a farm in Buchanan County. I’m proud of the work my family and fellow farmers around the state put into raising healthy pigs. Access to a nutritious diet, clean water supply and veterinary care for every animal we raise is part of the job we commit to as Iowa farmers.

We also prioritize biosecurity to minimize the risk of disease entering or spreading to our animals. This involves controlling access to the farm, restricting movement of people and vehicles, and implementing strict sanitation practices. These measures help protect the health of the pigs and prevent the introduction of potential pathogens.

A commitment to ensuring the welfare of our animals is part of being a farmer. We provide adequate space for our pigs to live comfortably, appropriate flooring to prevent injuries, and an environment that keeps pigs comfortable year-round. We closely monitor the pigs' behavior and well-being to identify any signs of stress or illness.

Our practices are based on years of tried-and-true methods, using scientific approaches. We ensure top notch care for our animals so we can provide high quality food to consumers. Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the nation. We feed the world with delicious and nutritious protein products.

Unfortunately, our industry is under attack. Anti-agriculture activists succeeded in passing Proposition 12 in California. This law seeks to usurp longstanding animal care practices by forcing arbitrary guidelines on farmers in every state. Supporters of Prop 12 have failed to show it will improve animal welfare. In fact, in many instances, it may put the health of sows in more jeopardy.

Low-and medium-income families in California are also likely to suffer due to Prop 12. Californians produce one percent of the nation’s pork but consume around 15 percent. While many people are struggling with high food prices due to inflation, the ramifications on Prop 12 could increase those costs for consumers by increasing costs for farmers, reducing pork production, and potentially disrupting supply chains.

It will also hurt the livelihood of Iowa farmers who are already struggling with a difficult economic situation. Pork producers have suffered significant losses for the past six months. Converting farms to make them Prop 12 compliant is simply not feasible for many of us. It would cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars for many Iowa pig farmers.

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision on May 11, opting by the slimmest of margins to not block Prop 12, they specifically said Congress is best equipped to overturn the law. Under our Constitution, elected federal representatives, not individual states, have the authority to regulate interstate commerce. As president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, a pig farmer, and a lifelong Iowan, I’m asking Congress to act.

A good first step is the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. I applaud all six of members of Iowa’s congressional delegation and Governor Kim Reynolds for supporting it. The bill would prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production of agricultural products in other states, like California is doing with Prop 12. I encourage Iowans who care about the food supply and agriculture to thank their representatives in Congress for supporting the EATS Act.

Iowa pig farmers care about the animals we raise, the land we till, and the people who buy our products. Pork is a delicious, nutritious, and economical source of protein are we’re going to fight to keep it that way. Whether it’s chops, loins, bacon, ribs, ham, sausage, hot dogs, pulled pork barbecue, or the iconic Iowa breaded tenderloin, pork producers are committed to providing safe food for you and your family. Support them by buying some affordable, nutritious pork for summer grilling.

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