Agriculture groups argued against California’s Proposition 12 to the Supreme Court Tuesday. The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council challenged the ability of one state to set agricultural production standards for the entire country. California’s Proposition 12 law bans the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the state’s arbitrary production standards, even if the hogs were raised outside of California. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “Proposition 12’s misguided approach will ultimately cost every family through higher food prices.”
AFBF Deputy General Counsel Travis Cushman says the law is unconstitutional. Cushman; “We wanted to help the justices understand that this law has far reaching consequences way beyond agriculture, but in relation to our agriculture, this will fundamentally change the way that farmers can conduct their operation in a way that is not the way the founders saw the Constitution.”
Cushman says small hog farmers won’t be able to comply with the California law. Cushman; “Small farmers and ranchers aren’t in a position to be able to afford the types of requirements that Prop 12 requires. Prop 12 is a law that tells farmers in other states how they need to conduct their operation, and in doing so, it’s creating requirements the average small farmer won’t be able to comply with. What’s more, what happens the next year when another state, such as Massachusetts, increases this requirement. It puts a small farmer in an untenable position that they’ll never be able to comply with.”
Now, the Supreme Court justices will consider their opinion on the case.
Cushman; “The next step, the justices will need to figure out how they want to vote. Fortunately, you know, I think the justices did understand this case does have very far application, and that there are serious threats with California attempting to regulate conduct in other states.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also supports AFBF and NPPC. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says, “While this case is not focused on cattle producers, the precedent set by the court will determine all producers’ ability to engage in interstate commerce.” Earlier this year, NCBA filed an amicus brief before the court arguing that California’s mandates on livestock production methods violated the dormant commerce clause of the Constitution.