Ag leader: Left unchecked, Prop 12 is a ‘slippery slope’ to a ‘patchwork’ of ‘ever-changing’ state laws

While the implementation date for California’s Prop 12 was pushed back six months, leaders in Ag states like Iowa are calling on Congress to act.

pig on a farm

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says while the six-month delay in the implementation of California’s Prop 12 regulations is helpful for the livestock industry to make adjustments and meet the requirements — the window is also very telling.

“It gives us that kind of six-month window — but that certainly is an indication of the practical reality, right? The challenge of actually complying with this from the producer’s side,” Naig said. “So, it’s good, I guess, that you would delay that and try to ease into that transition.”

However, Naig fears the landmark state legislation could further hurt the pork industry as other states consider creating their own versions of similar legislation.

“When I speak with groups now, you can almost watch people sort of click through this like, ‘Well, it’s pork today. Gosh, what could it be tomorrow? And will other states do this?,’” Naig said. “Yes, I think we should expect that they would, and it won’t just be around food. So, again, this decision opened the door for all manner of restrictions that can be placed on other states, producers of all kinds in other states, just because a state can use its market power, and that’s wrong. That’s something foundational to market access. I’m not just talking about food here.”

Naig agrees farmers and ranchers have a right to be concerned about the trend forming around Prop 12, which, he believes, is a “slippery slope” that should give Congress the boost it needs to take action.

“I do think that that should heighten the awareness and certainly should compel Congress to try to do something here,” Naig continued. “I don’t know if that can fit into a Farm Bill conversation. Frankly, I think it belongs on its own because it’s important, but I don’t care what vehicle it takes. But I do think that we’ve got to see some balance brought back into this interstate commerce question.”

If left unchecked by lawmakers, he worries we could soon have 50 states with 50 different sets of rules. Just recently, New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill similar to Prop 12.

“If you look at that Supreme Court decision broadly, what it says is—as long as you impose the same restrictions on the producers or the manufacturers of something in your own state, you can then impose those preferences or those restrictions on folks outside of your state. [...] So, it’s not just pork,” he said.

Naig believes this it would be a huge burden for producers of any agricultural product.

“By the way, this also creates this concept [that producers] are headed for a patchwork of rules and regulations. How would you ever comply with all of them—and they’re ever-changing?” He said. “If each legislative session or each new election cycle, you can put a new ballot initiative up, how in the world could you ever comply? How could you ever secure the capital, the financing that you need, in order to comply? When all you can say is: ‘Hey, I only know that I’m going to be compliant until they change the law next election or next time the legislature is in session.’ From a practical reality, it’s just very, very difficult.”


Starting Monday, April 29, the USDA will require free avian flu (HPAI H5N1) testing on all dairy cattle before interstate travel. Positive cases must be directly reported to the USDA for tracing.
However, economists say land values could falter if commodity prices fall in the New Year.
With the New Year comes new ideas, and lawmakers are still trying to find ways to fund the Farm Bill.
The United Soybean Board representatives say export and trade development is critical for increasing international demand.
It is National Farm Safety and Health Week—a time dedicated to recognizing the critical importance of safety on the farm. The National Education Center for Ag Safety (NECAS) usually hosts this week-long event during mid-September so farmers are reminded to prioritize their safety during the harvest season.
Analysts with the Propane Education & Research Council say the outlook for propane prices is positive for the fall harvest season.
Agriculture Shows
From soil to harvest. Top Crop is an all-new series about four of the best farmers in the world—Dan Luepkes, of Oregan, Illinois; Cory Atley, of Cedarville, Ohio; Shelby Fite, of Jackson Center, Ohio; Russell Hedrick, of Hickory, North Carolina—reveals what it takes for them to make a profitable crop. It all starts with good soil, patience, and a strong planter setup.
Champions of Rural America is a half-hour dive into the legislative priorities for Rural America. Join us as we interview members of the Congressional Western Caucus to learn about efforts in Washington to preserve agriculture and tackles the most important topics in the ag industry on Champions of Rural America!
Farm Traveler is for people who want to connect with their food and those who grow it. Thanks to direct-to-consumer businesses, agritourism, and social media, it’s now easier than ever to learn how our food is made and support local farmers. Here on the Farm Traveler, we want to connect you with businesses offering direct-to-consumer products you can try at home, agritourism sites you can visit with your family, and exciting new technologies that are changing how your food is being grown.
Featuring members of Congress, federal and state officials, ag and food leaders, farmers, and roundtable panelists for debates and discussions.
Host Ben Bailey hops in the tractor cab, giving farmers 10 minutes to answer as many questions and grab as much cash as they can for their local FFA chapter.