The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation has joined forces with agriculture groups and business organizations from around the country to submit a group amicus curiae–or “friend of the court”–brief supporting the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council’s Supreme Court petition to hear their appeal relating to California’s Proposition 12.

Proposition 12 sets housing requirements for farm animals raised for food products sold in California. Agriculture groups across the nation argue that the requirements are more costly, less efficient, not scientifically based and do not consider best animal husbandry practices.

The ballot initiative was passed by California voters in 2018 and is being implemented in two phases, with the first phase implemented in 2020 and the second phase taking effect in 2022.

The OKFB Legal Foundation and other friends of the court discuss two primary reasons for the Supreme Court to hear the petition: economic consequences and the violation of interstate commerce.

Economic Consequences
Few pork producers in the United States currently meet California’s standards. Compliance with this law would require any producer selling their products in California to abide by these regulations, regardless of their operation’s geographical location.

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The brief expresses the potential this has to create enormous economic consequences felt by both producers and consumers. Consumers purchasing pork products would see an increase in prices on grocery store shelves due to the producer-incurred cost of changing their operation’s infrastructure, while failure to comply with the set regulations would deny producers access to California’s market entirely.

Interstate Commerce
Partners in the brief argue requiring out-of-state producers to comply with a California law in order to conduct business within the state imposes extraterritorial requirements that impede interstate commerce and go against the idea of horizontal federalism, or the freedom to move goods from state to state.

The OKFB Legal Foundation exists to protect Oklahoma farmers and ranchers and their ability to raise crops and livestock in the best manner they know. The foundation is proud to stand with the North Carolina Pork Council, the North Carolina Chamber Legal Institute, the North Carolina, Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas Farm Bureaus and other organizations on this important issue.