Crackpot California Cage-Free Ballot Measure Threatens MN Farmers

You may not have heard about Prop 12, the latest crackpot measure approved by voters in California, given the wild fires and mass shooting dominating the news from the Golden State.

But you will before long. Check out the rapid response to the latest ballot measure backed by California’s cage-free caucus on the Farm Journal website.

California consumers will likely experience an unnecessary increase in food prices and a decrease in consumer options now that Proposition 12, a ballot measure that requires more housing space for certain hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal, has passed in their state, says Jim Monroe, senior director of public relations with the National Pork Producers Council.

Out-of-state producers will also need to meet the new “cage-free” production standards to sell their goods in the Golden State, which has a population of 39.5 million people. These state mandates – without any scientific justification or benefit to the states or its citizens – are dictating how producers in other states raise their animals.

Wanda Patsche

Minnesota farmers are already bracing for the ripple effect from Prop 12. Minnesota Farm Living columnist Wanda Patsche points out that the measure will immediately undercut her family’s ability to make a living halfway across the country.

Proposition 12 restricts how livestock animals are raised. It not only restricts California farmers, but also the entire U.S. farming population. Right now, when Proposition 12 is enacted, Californians are not able to purchase pork that comes from my farm. The biggest issue is the banning of gestation stalls. Check out “Why We Use Gestation Stalls” if you are wondering why they are used.

The usual suspects supported the whacky regulations to micromanage modern agriculture.

The measure is endorsed by the Humane Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Sierra Club, the California Democratic Party, the United Farm Workers, the Center for Food Safety, and a variety of veterinarians and religious organizations.

If passed by a simple majority, the law would require 43 square feet of space for each calf raised for veal by 2020, 24 square feet for each breeding pig by 2022 and one square foot per hen by 2020, with all egg-laying hens required to be cage-free by 2022 — in other words, allowed to roam around a barn or large coop.

The constitutionality of Prop 12 will likely be challenged in federal court and taken up by Congress.

[ProFarmer reporter Jim] Wiesemeyer says the House farm bill, which is in conference with the Senate, includes an amendment from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would require states to permit the sale of any agricultural product that is not prohibited under federal law.

A decision on the Supreme Court taking up this case is pending,” Monroe says. “Not only do these state regulations violate the Constitution, but they are also bad for consumers…especially low-income families.”

Meantime, Wanda Patsche asks a question that would probably go right over the heads of Prop 12’s supporters.

Here’s the part I just don’t understand. Why was this put on a ballot? With no offense, what do people in Los Angeles know about midwest farming practices? It would be like me voting on whether a medical doctor should use a certain medical procedure. I don’t want to make that decision. I am not qualified to make that decision. That is why we have doctors and why they have the education/training they do. Farming should be no different. Make no bones about it, the end result will be higher food prices in the state of California. And, yes, there is a population base that will probably not even notice–those that have plenty of exposable money. Those that will suffer will be the low-income people. And my heart goes out to those people – the people no one listens to.