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Ernst: Going Whole Hog for Pork Producers

Californians who have likely never set foot on a farm and produce less than 1% of the nation’s pork want to dictate how Iowans raise our livestock.

In 2018, Golden-State voters approved Proposition 12, a state ballot measure that prohibits the sale of pork, eggs, and veal not produced according to arbitrary production standards. Total hogwash!

Iowa’s pork producers raise 46 million pigs a year, making our home the number one pork-producing state in the nation. Compliance with Prop 12 would require the majority of our farmers to undergo a complete renovation of nearly all animal confinement facilities, estimated to cost a whopping $1,700 per sow.

Producers and consumers alike are already suffering under the crushing weight of inflation, and the last thing they need is unnecessary expenses. Family and independent farms that cannot afford retrofitting costs would be forced to sell or consolidate their operations, serving a devastating blow to Iowans.

While the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the California law in May, their decision opened the door for Congressional action. In the court’s majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that Congress has the power to regulate commerce, but has yet to enact legislation to displace Prop 12.

That’s why I’m leading the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act. This effort would prohibit state and local governments (like California) from interfering with the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states (like Iowa).

It’s not just commonsense, it’s the commerce clause! Individual states should not be able to regulate industries outside of their borders. Iowans wouldn’t dream of telling Californians how to grow their almonds or cook their kale.

This bill is a first step in protecting producers’ livelihoods so they can raise healthy pigs for generations to come, and a necessary move to prevent a revolving door for other states to over-regulate production practices across the country.

Our pork producers have dedicated their lives to providing the nation with a healthy source of protein at a price that hardworking families can afford – all while caring for their animals and creating jobs.

California should look a little bit more like Iowa, not the other way around. I will continue fighting to pass theEATS Act to protect our pork producers and our breakfast!