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Clay County Farm Bureau Joins AFBF to Fight Proposition 12


CLAY COUNTY – The Farm Bureau signed a letter with the American Farm Bureau asking Congress to act regarding Proposition 12, a 2018 California ballot measure prohibiting the sale of pork, veal, and eggs produced from animals not housed according to the state’s arbitrary requirements.

In May 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that only Congress can step in and protect American agriculture from regulatory chaos posed by laws such as Proposition 12.

In his recent testimony before the House Agriculture Committee, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “If we don’t take this issue [Proposition 12] seriously, we’re going to have chaos in the marketplace.

Further reiterating to the Senate Agriculture Committee, Vilsack said, “If it [Congress] doesn’t figure this out, there is going to be chaos.” He emphasized that “farmers do not need the chaos. They need clarity and certainty.”

Our organizations could not agree more.

Without immediate congressional action, agriculture is at risk of arbitrary and conflicting state laws across all 50 states on any myriad of issues. This will severely harm small and medium-sized farms by imposing massive compliance costs and forcing significant agricultural consolidation.

Proposition 12 also poses a significant threat to the United States’ relationships with long-standing trading partners who have negotiated trade agreements with the United States. Compliance with Proposition 12 threatens partners with losing market access to the most populous state in the union. Similarly, it undermines the ability of the United States to negotiate trade agreements across the globe, as countries could impose similar non-science-based regional restrictions on U.S. exports. Proposition 12 puts the United States at risk of retaliatory action on American agricultural products.

Some mistakenly believe producers have a choice and can choose not to sell into the California market. However, when one state accounts for almost 15% of the national market, there is an apparent misunderstanding of market segmentation and how agricultural markets operate.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that only Congress can prevent “chaos” in the marketplace and provide farmers the certainty they need. If Congress fails to act, the chaos from a segmented market will drive consolidation and force American family farmers out of business, as the rest of agriculture remains exposed. Farmers are urging Congress to address Proposition 12 in the upcoming farm bill to ensure any farm bill reauthorization provides certainty to producers and protects their investments from a 50-state compliance patchwork. Farmers and ranchers across the country are urging Congress to act.

Clay County Farm Bureau urges all its members to contact their congressional representatives.