Despite Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent admonishment to livestock groups that they need to stop fighting with each other, one of Iowa’s representatives on the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) board of directors says the group remains firmly opposed to the so-called “egg bill” in Congress.
John Weber of Dysart, Iowa says NPPC still believes that the legislation, which dictates cage size for egg-laying hens, would set a very bad precedent for the livestock industry.
“We certainly want to stay away from federal mandated legislation dictating on-farm production,” Weber says. “We want to maintain that independence—that freedom for producers to make a choice on how they produce pork.”
As congressional ag committees prepare to restart the farm bill process, there is some speculation that the main proponents of the egg bill—the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States—may attempt to attach the legislation to the next farm bill.
“We think that’s a possibility that there could be an attempt to introduce it as part of the farm bill, or the livestock title,” Weber says. “It’s certainly eligible to come up as a stand-alone piece of legislation, or it’s eligible to be attached to other pieces of legislation.
“So we are just basically taking a wait-and-see—or observation—pattern on it. We want to follow it very closely.”
In a recent interview with Brownfield, Ag Secretary Vilsack cited opposition to the egg bill, from other farm groups, as an example of the kind of in-fighting that he—Vilsack—believes is damaging rural America’s political influence.