House Agriculture Chairman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) may be making it tougher to pass a new Farm Bill.

Thompson is insisting on including what he calls “a fix” for California’s Proposition 12. He claims the Prop 12 requirements have upset the hog market.

Two agricultural non-profit groups are challenging the Pennsylvania  Republican over the legislation that took effect this year in California.

Thompson recently said the Proposition 12 law has driven up the cost of meat for consumers, flooded the hog market, and “we need a fix there.”

Proposition 12, also known as the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act and the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative, put what some have said are unprecedented prohibitions on selling food from farm animals not housed under specific standards.

It was approved in a 2018 referendum, but some provisions did not take effect until Jan. 1 because of court challenges. The California Department of Food and Agriculture said the law prohibits a farm owner or operator from knowingly causing any covered animal to be confined cruelly and prohibits a business owner or operator from knowingly engaging in the sale within California of eggs, pork, or veal from animals confined cruelly.

Thompson told a radio news service that he plans to include language in the new farm bill that addresses interstate commerce. Prop 12 only applies to products sold in California.

“It will keep us grounded in garlic culture science for production methodology, and quite frankly, we’ll make sure we continue to protect state’s rights in terms of practices within the states,” Thompson said, “but when it comes to state commerce, one state cannot impair an entire industry across the country.”

Marty Irby is president of Competitive Markets Action, based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s mission is to shape policy “to promote more regenerative and sustainable agriculture and competitive markets in the U.S. and to defend against attacks on states’ rights by the federal government.”

Irby has been an ongoing critic of Thompson.

“If Chairman Thompson includes language that nullifies Prop 12 in the upcoming House Farm Bill, then we will do everything in our power to rally the 2,000 diverse opponents of the EATS Act to engage their collective grassroots army of over 10 million individual producers, consumers, advocates, and business owners, to ensure his Farm Bill fails passage on the House floor,” Irby said

The EATS, or Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act, was sponsored in the House by Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, and in the Senate by Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas. It aims “to prevent states and local jurisdictions from interfering with the production and distribution of agricultural products in interstate commerce.”

Marshall has 14 co-sponsors, Hinson 35 co-sponsors, all Republicans from Midwestern and Southern states. Their respective bills have been on the committee since last June. Irby said 226 members of Congress from both political parties have stated their opposition to nullifying Prop 12. In August of last year, Irby said, 171 House members sent a letter to Thompson and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member David Scott, R-Ga., while 31 Senators sent a similar letter to Senate Agriculture Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mo., and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-Ark.

It also reported the comments of Minnesota Farm Bureau President Dan Glessing, who said interstate commerce is a concern for one of the top pork-producing states in the country. He’s optimistic Congress can pass a new farm bill with that language this year.

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