MARION — Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson is pushing back at critics who say her plan to override California’s law on pork production will derail up to a thousand laws in other states. California’s law requires that bacon and other uncooked pork that’s sold in California must come from operations that have 24 square foot pens for sows.
“This bill is about helping to support our local producers who are raising these animals and are the best caretakers of these animals,” Hinson said during a conference call with Iowa reporters. “They’re focused on health and making sure they’re putting out a good product for Americans to consume.”
Hinson, a Republican from Marion, has said liberal activists in California should not be able to tell Iowa pork producers how to run their operations. “I see it as…a violation of interstate commerce rules,” Hinson said Thursday, “and that’s exactly what this bill is designed to fix.”
The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau estimate it will cost $350 million to retrofit U.S. hog confinements to meet California’s rules, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s law in May. A coalition of groups lobbying against Hinson’s proposal say it would open the floodgates to China’s take-over of American agriculture.
“I’ve been out there talking with actual farmers, not these animal welfare groups and special interests,” Hinson told reporters. “…I’m going to continue to tell the story of agriculture and how producers are doing the best job at raising the healthiest animals and taking good care of them
in the process.”
A bipartisan group of 150 House members also have warned adding Hinson’s Ending Agricultural Trade Supression or “EATS Act” to the Farm Bill would kill the Farm Bill’s chance for passage this year. The lawmakers say Hinson’s proposal would harm pork producers who’ve complied with California’s rules and would overturn other state laws about invasive pests, livestock diseases and puppy mills.
California’s new standards for pork are set to go into effect January 1, 2024. California’s space requirements for ag operations that produce veal and eggs went into effect September 1, 2022.