Recently, Iowa’s farmers and ranchers were slapped in the face by voters in California.
In 2018, California passed Proposition 12, an initiative that would place strict rules on how animals are housed before being sold in the state.
Chickens, cattle, hogs, sheep, turkeys, and every other animal that is sold in California would have to undergo strict evaluation before the sale can be made. This kind of law unfairly hurts agriculture-heavy states like Iowa and consumers in California who will have to pay higher prices for meat.
This law would create numerous unneeded costs and hurt our farmers, especially our hog farmers. The pork industry is tied incredibly closely with Iowa’s economy. Iowa produces nearly one-third of the hogs raised in the U.S. and Iowa farmers market almost 50 million hogs a year.
As of 2019, almost 150,000 jobs were associated with the Iowa pork industry. Almost one in ten Iowans are somehow involved in the pork industry and Iowa’s pork exports totaled more than $2 billion in 2018. As the leading pork-producing state in the country, this legislation would directly hurt Iowa’s producers.
This week, the Supreme Court announced it would take up a legal challenge to Prop 12. I am very pleased to hear that the Supreme Court has decided to take up the case.
I was proud to cosponsor Senator Joni Ernst and Rep. Ashley Hinson’s Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. This commonsense bill would prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production of agricultural goods in other states and would support Iowa farmers instead of forcing them to unnecessarily spend money to meet needless and likely unlawful regulations.
Under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, only Congress has the power to regulate commerce between states. The Founding Fathers intended that we have a national market and that no one state can unfairly harm industry and business in another state.
California voters should not tell Iowa farmers how they go about their lives. Iowa farmers, ranchers, and producers are the backbone of our communities, economy, and state. These men and women work hard every year, planting seeds, raising cattle, maintaining the soil, feeding the hogs, and harvesting the crop. Our farmers are up before dawn and work all day, no matter the weather.
California’s Proposition 12 violates the interstate commerce clause and hurts American farmers. A slap in the face might be how they do business in California, but Iowans will not stand for it. I will always fight for our farmers, our agriculture, and our state.