Missouri’s Attorney General, Chris Koster, used the Missouri Farm Bureau’s annual meeting to announce that he intends to sue the State of California to overturn a law that will limit most commercially-produced eggs from entering the state. Such a lawsuit was only a matter of time as many of the country’s egg producers are forced to either adopt California’s larger egg-cage standards or forego shipping eggs to a valuable market.
The underlying dispute began when the HSUS-backed California ballot proposal, Proposition 2, was enacted in 2008. Proposition 2 required California farmers and ranchers to abide by new animal housing requirements that banned certain practices, such as swine gestation crates, and provided for more space for laying hens. Egg producers are required to comply with the new housing requirements starting in 2015.
These new housing requirements created a competitive disadvantage for California’s egg producers when compared with out-of-state producers. California egg facilities will be required to have more space and heating costs when compared to more efficient, out-of-state producers that are not subject to Prop. 2’s requirements. To remedy this disadvantage, the California legislature passed a law prohibiting the import of shell and liquid egg imports from farms that do not meet California’s strict hen housing requirements. This law will insulate California’s farmers from competition with lower-cost competitors, but it may be problematic under the U.S. Constitution.
Read the rest of this article on John Dillard’s AgWeb.com Blog – Ag in the Courtroom.