NPPC Continues Fight Against Prop 12

It’s been a challenging year for pork. The National Pork Producers Council says input costs were up about 60 percent from where they were three years ago. And the price of pork isn’t supporting that.

Unfortunately, the challenges don’t stop there. NPPC President Scott Hays says patchwork regulations around the country are a growing issue.

California’s Proposition 12 is an example of how a state was successful in passing a rule that requires farmers meet specific regulations in order to sell meat and egg products in that state. The Wisconsin Pork Association says California consumes about 15 percent of U.S. pork. Prop 12 went into effect on July 1, and that means if producers want to sell to the California market, they have to comply. WPA also says it could cost thousands of dollars per sow to meet the regulations.

“Producers have, I think, a tough choice to make. Do you raise pork for California? Do you raise pork for Massachusetts? Or do you raise pork for everyone else?” Hays questions.

On Hays’ farm, his family chose not to comply with smaller markets because they don’t agree with the standards they’ve set.

“It’s not a higher standard, as they talk about, it’s just a different standard,” he says. “We’re still fighting Prop 12-type legislation because it just doesn’t make sense to create all these micro markets.”

Hays says California is just the beginning – more states are considering similar action, such as Massachusetts and New York.

“I would encourage any states that’s thinking about this to give it some time to be implemented in California, I don’t think they’re going to like what they see,” he says. “Preliminary numbers coming out of California — the cuts that fall under Prop 12, the price of those are up 27 percent while the price for those same cuts in the rest of the country are down about 2 percent.”

Hays says it’s not just agriculture at risk of these patchwork regulations.

“They can push this onto anyone. We’ve seen it with the auto industry, and they’re changing that standard as well on what kind of vehicle you can drive in California,” he says. “What the Supreme Court has done is they’ve opened that up for any state to do that. So yes, this could go far beyond ag. It will go beyond pork.”