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New Year’s Regulations: Prop 12 Takes Effect… Kinda

Government officials, they’re just like us: treating pesky deadlines as mere suggestions.

Proposition 12, a law affecting pork production methods and other livestock for sale in California (no matter the location of production), was slated to go into effect on Jan 1st. However, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has not released a final ruling on the law’s requirements after the comment period ended in mid-December.

This has left many pork producers questioning what they need to do to remain compliant. That’s enough to drive anyone hog wild.

The big pigture:

  • Prop 12 requires 24 ft² for each breeding pig, 43 ft² per veal calf, and 144 in² per egg-laying hen. For perspective, the average hog farm in the U.S. would lose between 25 – 33% of sow capacity with Prop 12.
  • According to the Animal Care Program of Prop 12, “eggs and pork already in inventory or commerce before the end of 2021 will still be legal to sell in California,” providing a transition period for producers.
  • The Humane Society of the United States calls Prop 12 “the strongest law in the world addressing farm animal confinement.

Sow what’s next? The new regulations could require significant infrastructure investment from producers to remodel facilities into compliance. A serious hit to the piggy bank.

Soundbite: “Here we find ourselves in the eleventh hour because it’s hard for producers to make this investment—because it’s a significant investment—without clearly understanding what they’re going to need to do for compliance,” noted David Hockman, National Pork Producers Council.