Starting in 2020, calves confined for veal production are required to have at least 43 square feet of usable floor space if their meat product is to be sold in California.
Starting in 2020, calves confined for veal production are required to have at least 43 square feet of usable floor space if their meat product is to be sold in California.


From News Reports


California voters overwhelmingly approved a measure Nov. 6 requiring that all eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens by 2022.

Proposition 12 also bans the sale of pork and veal in California from farm animals raised in cages that don’t meet the new minimum size requirements. That means the Golden State’s new rules will apply to farmers nationwide whose eggs, veal and pork are sold in California.

Supporters say the measure is a big step toward more humane farming practices, while opponents say it is misleading and maintains cruel practices for animals, reports the Associated Press.

Dubbed the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, Proposition 12 builds on an earlier ballot measure, Proposition 2, that passed in 2008 and banned keeping hens, calves and pigs in cages where they couldn’t stand up, lie down or turn around.

That measure took effect in 2015 but lacked specific size requirements and did not apply to out-of-state farmers whose products were sold in California.

Proposition 12 specifies how much floor space farmers need to give each animal.

It requires that, starting in 2020, calves confined for production have at least 43 square feet (4 square meters) of usable floor space, while breeding pigs be given at least 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) of floor space in their pens starting in 2022.

Starting in 2020, egg-laying hens must be been given 1 square foot (144 square inches) of floor space each on the way to being cage-free by 2022.

A decade ago, Proposition 2 was the furthest-reaching law for farm animals in the country. Since then a dozen states have banned or restricted confinement for at least one farm animal. Massachusetts passed a comprehensive measure in 2016 that is similar to Proposition 12.

Among those opposed to the measure were the National Pork Producers Council and the Association of California Egg Farmers, which said it will raise costs for farmers and, as a result, prices for consumers.

Bradley Miller, a spokesman for Californians against Cruelty, Cages and Fraud, which led a “No on Proposition 12” campaign, said the measure makes misleading claims and does little to end cruelty to animals in the near term.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says Proposition 12 would likely result in an increase in prices for eggs, pork and veal partly because farmers would have to remodel or build new housing for animals.

It could also cost the state as much as $10 million a year to enforce and millions of dollars more a year in lost tax revenues from farm businesses that choose to stop or reduce production because of higher costs, the office said.


Farm Bill enters lame-duck

As Congress is back in D.C., both House and Senate Ag leaders are promising to take action on a new farm bill during the upcoming lame-duck session. 

House Ag Chair Michael Conaway and the GOP conference committee members have to decide whether or not they’ll give some ground on some of the biggest sticking points of the farm bill debate in order to get a bill passed this year.

Those disputes include conservation, commodity policy, and work requirements for SNAP program recipients. Politico says reaching a deal while they still hold the majority in the House of Representatives would help Republicans reach some of their goals before they lose their leverage. House Democrats could choose to start from scratch next year when they assume control, which Politico says the industry might not want to see.

It’s possible that newly elected Democrats may help pull the farm bill to the left with amendments to rein in subsidies on wealthy farmers or adjust federal crop insurance. Ranking member Collin Peterson of Minnesota won a close race on election day and is expected to retake the gavel as chair of the House Ag Committee. Peterson has said he would prefer to not start over and write a new farm bill.




Mike Naig will remain Iowa ag 

secretary

Voters on Nov. 6 chose Republican Mike Naig over Democrat Tim Gannon, a central Iowa farmer who previously worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as their state secretary of agriculture.

Naig grew up on a farm in northwest Iowa and has worked at the state agriculture department since 2013. Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed him agriculture secretary in March and he received the GOP nomination at a state convention over four other candidates.