Nunn, Hinson Introduce Bill to Protect Iowa Pork Producers

DES MOINES — U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03) and Ashley Hinson (IA-02) today introduced the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act to prohibit state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states.

California’s Proposition 12 requires that all meat products sold in California conform to production standards set by the state of California, even when raised outside of the state. This burdensome regulation would effectively submit Iowa’s farmers and ranchers to California’s laws, allowing California to dictate production standards nationwide.

“Prop 12 is big government red tape at its absolute worst and is a direct threat to the economy in our number one pork producing state,” Rep. Nunn said. “Iowa’s pork producers need the freedom to operate without worrying about excessive government regulation tripping them up, and that’s exactly what this bill will do. Our bill will prevent states like California from dictating how business is done in Iowa so that Iowa’s pork producers can continue to provide their essential service that helps feed our country.” 

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross to uphold California’s Proposition 12, the EATS Act reiterates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause establishing the federal government’s duty to regulate interstate commerce, prohibits state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states, and creates a federal cause of action to challenge the interference of agricultural products in interstate commerce in the jurisdiction of the producer’s state.

In the decision to uphold Proposition 12, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch noted, “Congress has yet to adopt any statute that might displace Proposition 12 or laws regulating pork producing in other states.” The EATS Act addresses this deficiency to ensure Iowa farmers can continue producing high quality food while protecting free market interstate commerce.

“Prop 12 allows radical activists in California – who don’t know the first thing about farming or raising animals – to regulate how farmers do their job, devastating small family farms, and undermining food security,” Rep. Hinson said. “Our farmers take great care of their animals and ensure families have safe, affordable, and high-quality food on the table. I am proud to lead the EATS Act to stand against this ‘bacon ban’, ensure farmers can continue to feed the nation, and protect interstate commerce.” 

Senator Roger Marshall (KS) introduced the Senate version of the bill with support from Senators Joni Ernst (IA) and Chuck Grassley (IA): 

“California’s Proposition 12 means higher costs for Iowa’s pork producers and higher costs at the meat counter, not just in California, but across the nation,” Sen. Grassley said. “It’s bad for our economy and your grocery bill. The EATS Act prevents California from dictating how Iowa’s pork producers operate and puts an end to the war on breakfast.”

“Californians can tell Iowans how to raise their livestock when pigs fly,” Sen. Ernst said. “As leaders in the pork and egg industries, Iowa’s producers and job creators shouldn’t be forced to abide by costly and arbitrary expectations from the west coast. I’ll keep fighting to pass the EATS Act so folks across the country can continue to enjoy Iowa’s top-notch pork and eggs.” 

While Californians produce one percent of the nation’s pork, they consume around 15 percent. California’s Prop 12 will force family farms out of business and undermine our food supply. The EATS Act will ensure Iowa producers can continue to do their jobs and feed the nation without interference. 

“Anti-agriculture activists are trying to take over longstanding animal care practices,” Trish Cook, President of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said. “The EATS Act is a good first step toward preventing a state from forcing arbitrary guidelines on farmers in every state. I applaud Congresswoman Hinson for introducing this bill in the U.S. House and express my thanks on behalf of Iowa pig farmers.” 

“Iowa’s pork producers know what is best for their animals, and don’t need activist states telling them how to raise and care for their livestock,” Brent Johnson, President of the Iowa Farm Bureau, said. “The EATS Act would put an end to the uncertainty surrounding the future of pork production, and the Iowa Farm Bureau thanks Rep. Hinson leading with this important legislation.” 

“We are grateful lawmakers are seeking ways to ensure grocery store shelves and meat cases across the country do not go bare, and that farmers and ranchers have open access to reach all American consumers,” Zippy Duval, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said.

“California’s Proposition 12 will cause higher food prices for everyone by forcing pig farmers far outside the state to comply with arbitrary production regulations,” Bryan Humphreys, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, said. “We value the excellent work members of Congress are doing to find a legislative solution, like the EATS Act, to allow farmers to raise and deliver safe and nutritious pork products to all Americans.” 

The full text of the bill is available here