Pork producers say even with Prop 12 grace period, impact is uncertain

Some pork producers say there are still too many unanswered questions about the impact of California’s Proposition 12 law.

Nebraska Pork Producers Association President Mark Wright says consumer demand is a major unknown. “Will that demand in California be reduced and will we have extra pork in the other 49 states? That is yet to be seen.”

Speaking with Brownfield at the 2023 Nebraska Pork Expo, he said that consumers in California still want pork products. “They love bacon. They love pork products.  It’s healthy. It’s healthy and nutrition, and it’s affordable. Unfortunately, Prop 12 is going to throw out affordability on some parts of that.”

Bill Luckey owns a contract finishing operation in Eastern Nebraska and says the six-month grace period isn’t enough time for producers to become compliant with the law. “With the cost of remodeling and equipment availability, the cost of concrete or whatever it may be, it seems like it’s going to take a lot more time than that.  In a lot of cases, you’re going to have to reduce the number of animals in a building.”

California’s Department of Food and Ag modified the implementation of Prop 12 allowing pork produced before July 1 could be sold until December 31st.

And, Luckey says, some producers may retrofit their barns if California pays a premium for pigs raised under the new guidelines.

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