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Iowa Senators Want to Gut California’s New Pork Law with One of Their Own

Iowa Senators Want to Gut California’s New Pork Law with One of Their Own

“I don’t know why anyone would want to live in a state where it’s almost impossible to buy bacon.”

I recently reported that a California law taking effect next year could make pork challenging to find and more expensive to purchase.  The new rules mandate very specific living conditions for the livestock that few farmers meet.

While I stock-up on bacon,  Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are pushing back against California’s law with their own.

The California law, Proposition 12, will ban the sale of pork from farms where a pig is raised on less than 24 square feet of space. Since only 4 percent of the nation’s hog farmers abide by it, the law will eliminate 96 percent of pork suppliers from the California market. Iowa is the largest pork supplier in the nation.

Ernst and Grassley on Thursday introduced a bill, the Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act, that would combat California’s law by preventing any state from regulating the production or distribution of agricultural products in other states and localities.

“We thought we’ve seen it all from the radical left—from defunding the police, to the Green New Deal, to trillions in new spending with skyrocketing inflation—but this takes it to a whole new level: banning bacon? No way, folks,” said Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Radicals in liberal states like California shouldn’t be allowed to punish hardworking farmers and producers in Iowa, which is why I’m pushing to strip out this ridiculous law and ensure Iowans can continue selling the nation’s best pork, bacon, and eggs to Americans across the country.”

It is being reported that 20 states have already challenged California’s proposition. However, looking at the numbers, perhaps their citizens might enjoy having more bacon at lower prices. It appears Golden State citizens eat more than their fair share.

According to a report from the Associated Press, only 4% of hog operations currently comply with the new rules and unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose much of its pork supply.

…Californians consume 15% of all pork produced in the U.S., and Iowa leads the country in hog production. To make sure they stay compliant, Iowa farmers are making tough decisions before the law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

Two Chapman University professors recently studied the motivating factors for Californians moving out of state. The results were exactly what you might think:

Our research findings rigorously show that the two major reasons that account for California’s net outflow and Florida’s inflow are regulatory policies and state and local taxes. In terms of regulation, George Mason University’s Mercatus Center ranks California as having more regulation than any other state in the nation. As for state and local taxes, the Tax Foundation’s State Business Climate Index places California as the second highest in the nation, while Florida is the fourth lowest.

These differences in regulation and state and local taxes, according to our equation, explain virtually all of California’s net migration outflow and Florida’s inflow. To be more precise, the difference between California’s outflow of -0.51% and Florida’s inflow of +0.62% is 1.13%. Our research indicates that 0.68% of that difference is explained by California’s highly regulated business environment and that 0.50% is explained by its higher taxes. The total of these two impacts (0.68% + 0.50%) is 1.18% — almost equal to the 1.13% difference in net migration between California and Florida.

California’s political focus, especially over the last ten years, has been on increasing taxes and regulation. Regrettably, California’s public servants and especially its Governor have decided to ignore the effects of burdensome regulation and high relative state and local taxes on where people decide to live and work.

A third reason may soon be added.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to live in a state where it’s almost impossible to buy bacon. But California wants to impose such a rule on its residents,” Senator Grassley said.


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Grassley is one of the traitors supporting the infrastructure bill

The bill with no infrastructure and nothing but rules to put the screws on your freedom

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to gonzotx. | August 7, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    I wonder if he’s getting a little gah gah with age.

    healthguyfsu in reply to gonzotx. | August 7, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    GOPers that are getting a cut of it for their pet projects are in.

    mark311 in reply to gonzotx. | August 7, 2021 at 7:30 pm


    There is something like 110$ billion for roads alone in the infrastructure bill, more for rail and things like that. Where on earth did you get the idea that there was no infrastructure in the bill?

      RickP in reply to mark311. | August 9, 2021 at 8:00 am

      Wow, you mean that there’s a whole 10% being proposed for actual infrastructure in a $1.5T “Infrastructure Bill”? Who have believed it!

Not content to ruin California, its politicians want to ruin the other 49 states from afar

We spend our summers in CA and the grocery prices are eyepopping…90/10 ground beef $9.49/lb and eggs $3.99/dz. These items have been impacted by previous CA regulations on farm animals.

The size of a hogs’ living area is a legitimate issue for discussion.

However, it should be resolved on a national level.

The are confinement areas where the hog cannot even turn around.

Also, the hogs are denied fresh air.

The animals should not be subjected to torture (forced to live in very tiny areas and denied fresh air.)

    UserP in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | August 7, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    “The animals should not be subjected to torture (forced to live in very tiny areas and denied fresh air}.”

    You should see how the chickens live.

      kyrrat in reply to UserP. | August 7, 2021 at 11:01 pm

      The way chickens live depends on the farmer. I buy my eggs from a local farmer with free range chickens. They cost more. I find the eggs to be larger and their taste superior. It costs more to raise them in this manner. Just because I prefer these eggs does not mean I think all farmers should be forced to raise their chickens in this way.

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | August 7, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    No, it is not something that should be resolved on a national level. How ludicrous.

    California is justified if they want to pass laws about farming subjects they don’t understand, but to take those emotion-driven “discussions” to a national level, presumably so farming practices can be decided by urban dwellers in a way that sooths their feelz, is downright unAmerican.

    Consumers can find (and pay for) pasture raised pork if they please; no one is restricting this commerce but clearly there are those who are only satisfied if they can control the buying habits of others they consider less enlightened.

      I don’t think we have to be so incredibly cruel to animals before they lay down their very lives for us to eat.

      I don’t have an answer, probably we don’t need 340,000,000 peole in this country of which 50 million are illegal
      Maybe the animals would fair better and have more room of humans weren’t so selfish
      We continue to treat farm animals worse and worse as big conglomerates have taken over 95% of the farming in this Country

      I’ve done farm work. I’m not certain if you are deliberately missing the point by obfuscating things with pasture raised versus ensuring animals have some air and enough room to turn around in a pen. Certainly as humans we can agree on some minimum standards for the animals we consume.

        CommoChief in reply to ntd69. | August 9, 2021 at 12:41 pm

        If TRULY an important priority then make a lifestyle adjustment by moving to a rural area, buying a smallish hobby farm and raising the animals you consume to the specifications you desire.

        That so few do so indicates this isn’t a priority. Growing food and raising chickens, hogs or goats is something anyone who wanted to could do if they made the commitment.

    I agree. If we’re going to eat animals, we need to be humane to them prior to eating them.

    But we all know this is a pretense.

    Milwaukee in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | August 7, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    The discussion of the size of space a pig in a confinement operation gets is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution of the United States of America. Which means states get to make that decision. Confinement hog operations are expensive and very technical. The farmers do have some idea of what they are doing. If you wish to make personal choices about the meat you buy, go ahead.

    Liberal/leftist divide with live and let live, small government conservatives.
    Leftist controllers: I don’t like guns, No one except my security detail should have guns.
    Conservatives: I don’t like guns so I won’t own one. But if you want to own one, just be safe.

    Leftist: I don’t like, —–, so no one can have ——–,
    Conservatives: Make responsible choices, and don’t infringe on others.

      ntd69 in reply to Milwaukee. | August 9, 2021 at 6:25 am

      Your thoughts that pig pens must be mentioned in the constitution to be subject to federal regulations is exactly wrong and ridiculous.
      Start with commerce section of the constitution which grants congress powers to regulate interstate commerce.

    CommoChief in reply to ParkRidgeIL. | August 8, 2021 at 12:43 am

    ‘..should be resolved at a national level’. Why? Under what specific grant of Constitutional authority? Do not quote me an expansive CT decision derived from another expansive CT decision based on a vague statute or previously unacknowledged viewpoint.

      DaveGinOly in reply to CommoChief. | August 8, 2021 at 10:46 pm

      Because if this is a legitimate topic for government resolution by the legislative process, the Constitution grants Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction over interstate commerce. State laws such as this infringe upon a Congressional prerogative.

      Note that the authority California has to make and enforce its own emissions standards for automobiles sold in the state comes from a carve-out (by way of an exception to Congress’ exclusive authority over interstate commerce) created via federal legislation, which permitted CA to create those laws. Absent a carve-out, no state has the authority to prevent articles of commerce either lawfully imported (into the US) or produced in another state from being sold within its own borders. This goes for bacon and eggs (CA has a law about egg production that also unconstitutionally expands the legislative reach of the state into other states by forcing out-of-state egg producers to meet the CA state standards or forego the sale of their eggs in CA), as well as firearms.

      Were it not for the carve-out created by Congress, CA’s auto emissions rules would likewise be unconstitutional infringements upon Congress’ exclusive legislative jurisdiction over interstate commerce. At one time, this was a recognized problem, and that’s why CA asked for, and was granted, the carve-out. (Not that I believe the carve-out itself is constitutional. It’s not. Aside from the fact that the Constitution didn’t grant Congress the authority to delegate any of its powers to any state or states, the emissions standards do more than just restrict what can be sold in the state; it had the unintended consequence of allowing one state to dictate to manufacturers located in other states how they must produce their products, effectively extending one state’s legislative jurisdiction into another state. The Commerce Clause was meant to prevent situations just like this.) But once CA started creating its own auto emission standards, it has conveniently forgotten the circumstances under which it gained that authority and why it was necessary to invoke those circumstances.

        Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 8, 2021 at 11:21 pm

        Your understanding of the Dormant Commerce Clause is a century out of date.

        The only reason CA’s auto emission standards need a federal carve-out is because there is a federal emission standard, which preempts state standards, so there’s a special clause that says it doesn’t preempt this one. If there were no federal standard, or if Congress hadn’t said it was preempting stricter state standards, there would be no need for that clause.

Hello, pigs!
“… I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. “

Let them eat vegetables and we will eat more bacon. Win win.

The three biggest pork eating ethnic groups in the US are the Hispanics, the Chinese, and the Filipinos. Guess which are also far and away the largest ethnic groups in California. And guess how they tend to vote.

I think the Calif. Dems have given those three groups the perfect reason to take the Red Pill and wake up.

Every time I see Grassley’s name come up on some issue, I get prepared to cringe. and he never disappoints me.

California is not “regulating the production or distribution of agricultural products in other states and localities” by not buying them, any more than I “regulate the production of tofu and kombucha in Asia” by not buying them.

Grassley is proposing another federal law justified by Wickard v. Filburn (“not engaging in interstate commerce affects interstate commerce, so the feds can take jurisdiction”). We shouldn’t be applauding this.

If the Iowa farmers want to make their point, they should be taking out California billboards showing a breakfast plate with “ghost” bacon and sausages, and splash “ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES” across the top, with a phone number to call to get onto a repeal petition.

    The GOPe never disappoints. In the wrong direction. Always.

    DaveGinOly in reply to henrybowman. | August 8, 2021 at 11:09 pm

    California is not “regulating the production or distribution of agricultural products in other states and localities” by not buying them, any more than I “regulate the production of tofu and kombucha in Asia” by not buying them.”

    California is not “not buying” articles of production, it is preventing the sale within its borders of certain articles, articles lawfully produced in other states. Manufacturers must consider the laws of California when they decide whether or not they want to sell their products there. You can say, “They have a choice to make,” but it’s a choice forced upon them that they wouldn’t have to make if CA didn’t presume to make laws that govern articles moving in interstate commerce, an infringement upon the prerogative of Congress. Congress and California understand that without the carve-out in federal law, the Commerce Clause would otherwise prevent CA from making such regulations with regard to automobiles. The same principle applies to all articles that move in interstate commerce. Without the permission of Congress, no state can make its own regulations that would prevent or inhibit the movement of articles of trade from one state to another. The Commerce Clause was written to specifically remove all such authority from the states to prevent such problems (as one state dictating production standards to producers in other states) as is done today by many states. CA is just one of the most egregious infringers upon this prerogative of Congress.

      henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 9, 2021 at 1:34 am


      California is not “not buying” articles of production, it is preventing the sale within its borders of certain articles, articles lawfully produced in other states. Manufacturers must consider the laws of California when they decide whether or not they want to sell their products there. You can say, “They have a choice to make,”

      As for the first part, it’s a distinction without a difference. I presume neither one of us claims that California law doesn’t have the power to deny its citizens the privilege of buying/reselling certain articles produced in other states. If this were so, they would have no “assault weapons” ban, no “approved handgun roster,” and no elevated “emissions standards,” which they have maintained for decades. California (as a group of citizens) are not buying this meat — and not even because their evil masters are forcing them not to buy this meat, but because they were stupid enough to vote not to buy this meat.

      The second part is a quibble. Gun manufacturers, car manufacturers, cosmetic manufacturers, even knick-knack manufacturers have to consider the laws of California if they wish to sell their products there. (Everything suddenly exhibits a fearful risk of causing cancer or birth defects once it crosses the state line, remember?) I can promise you with great confidence that the fact that pork producers now have to do the same thing is not going to foment a constitutional crisis.

      They may not even have a choice to make, a choice was made for them. Their only possible response might be, “FU, California.” I, for one, hope it is.

Dolce Far Niente | August 7, 2021 at 7:57 pm

It is hopeless as well as nearsighted to expect the passing of one law will curb the perceived evils of another law.

Government screws up virtually anything it regulates, and the remedy is LESS law, less regulation, less government interference, and not more.

Don’t cheer that Grassley and Earnst, neither of whom would know a conservative principle if it bit them, propose just a LEETLE bit more government, ostensibly because California is heading for some unintended consequences.

That pork law is an unConstitutional trade barrier. The problem is, Constitutional rights have to be enforced ($).

    Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | August 8, 2021 at 1:30 am

    No, it isn’t. It treats Californian pork exactly the same way it treats pork from other states. For almost a century that has been understood to be all the Dormant Commerce Clause requires.

    The specific exception for alcohol created by the 21st amendment was only necessary because at that time the general understanding was that the DCC prevented states from regulating anything that came in from another state or country, so long as it stayed in the original packaging. That is no longer how it is understood and I’m not aware of anyone who wants to go back to that understanding.

      4rdm2 in reply to Milhouse. | August 8, 2021 at 5:16 am

      Gee. Why is it not shocking to find that Milhouse would be in favor? Apologetics for actions of the left seem to be one of your stocks in trade.

        Milhouse in reply to 4rdm2. | August 8, 2021 at 11:17 pm

        You are incapable of reading and understanding simple English, so just shut up.

          4rdm2 in reply to Milhouse. | August 9, 2021 at 4:21 pm

          Nice try Milhouse. But nice way to dodge. You are, in fact, always the one chiming in to try to validate whatever stunt the democrats pull. It’s not even an arguable fact.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | August 8, 2021 at 11:28 pm

      Then why did CA need a federal carve-out to make and enforce its own emissions standards on the production of automobiles? Without the carve-out, CA wouldn’t have been able to enforce such regulations, because the Commerce Clause gives Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction over everything that moves in interstate commerce.

      The Commerce Clause empowers Congress to make regulations, so long as those regulations reach into every state (no state or states are favored by the regulations). But when a state makes such regulations, they can (and will) do so to protect their own production. Indeed, this is what they’re doing here. Their own regulations concerning production (not sale) of chickens and chicken products put their own producers at a disadvantage. So they are attempting to extend their legislative authority into other states, to put the producers in those states in a similar situation in order to protect their producers from being out-competed in the market. This is precisely the kind of nonsense the Commerce Clause was meant to prevent.

      At lease with their own emissions standards they could beg (and probably did, to get the carve-out) “CA has special problems with air pollution. Cars produced elsewhere to lower emission standards will exacerbate the problem. We must be able to dictate our own standards, because the national standards are having an adverse effect here in CA.”

      So I have to ask, what adverse effect does the raising of chickens in another state have on CA? When the out-of-state chicken or chicken product is brought into CA, isn’t is just like any other chicken produced there? They don’t even have the special pleading they probably used to get their own emissions standards. The way chickens are raised in other states has no effect on California, except that their own standards put their own producers at a disadvantage. So they are now trying to impose those standards on out-of-state producers, even though chickens coming from out-of-state, produced under standards that differ from CA’s, are indistinguishable from chickens produced in the state, under the state’s standards!

    PODKen in reply to Valerie. | August 8, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Every state establishes standards for goods coming into their state.

      DaveGinOly in reply to PODKen. | August 8, 2021 at 11:32 pm

      Then every state, absent the consent of Congress to permit the infringement upon its prerogative of exclusive legislative jurisdiction over interstate commerce, is violating the Constitution.

      “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
      Thomas Paine
      Common Sense

It’s no more unconstitutional than Mississippi’s ban on other states shipping alcoholic beverages into Mississippi.

    stevewhitemd in reply to henrybowman. | August 7, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    21st Amendment, Section 2: “The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.”

    Mississippi may regulate the sale of alcohol in Mississippi as it pleases; that includes banning the importation of alcoholic beverages from other states.

    As someone said up above, there is nothing in the Constitution about pork products. Likely because the Framers never thought that someone could screw up bacon.

      Eric R. in reply to stevewhitemd. | August 8, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      The framers never thought you could screw up something as basic as having two genders, yet here we are.

      DaveGinOly in reply to stevewhitemd. | August 8, 2021 at 11:39 pm


      Indeed, the framers knew the states would screw up interstate commerce if they were allowed to make their own regulations and rules governing same. They gave Congress exclusive legislative jurisdiction over interstate commerce not so much to give Congress additional authority, but to remove the authority from the states. They imagined trade wars between individual states (or blocks of states, in league against other states) in order to protect their own production, favor their own farmers and tradespeople, and to favor their own ports and transportation facilities, and in order to damage those of other states. This would have had the effect of making interstate commerce anything other than “regular.”

    kyrrat in reply to henrybowman. | August 7, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    They do that? Odd.

      CommoChief in reply to kyrrat. | August 8, 2021 at 11:07 am

      Odd? Not really. It’s the easy and non controversial path which politicians love to take. A very small group advocates for out of State alcohol shipping direct to consumers.

      A powerful coalition of Baptist opposition to alcohol in general and the domestic MS liquor sellers. Each opposes additional sellers of liquor/wine/beer for their own reasons. Together them make common cause against it. The political class is happy to take campaign funds and do their bidding.

CA is becoming an increasingly irrelevant market to those who wish to simply ignore the,
The joke “Causes cancer in California” has become world wide.

    Eric R. in reply to puhiawa. | August 8, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    The problem is that CA could combine with other left-wing states — OR, WA, NY, MA come to mind – to craft common legislation that could force producers in other states to bend to their will, because they would represent a large enough market from which companies do not want to be excluded.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | August 8, 2021 at 9:49 am

Non-California pork producers (in Iowa and elsewhere) should not adjust their operations to comply with the new California law. Doing so will result in economic inefficiency. Pork consumers in the other 49 states and the export market will pay higher prices for pork. That’s wrong.

Californians voted on a referendum that mandates how much space a pork producer must provide a hog. Fine. Then let CA pork producers comply with the mandate. It will result in economic inefficiency and CA pork consumers will pay higher prices or experience short term pork shortages. So what? That’s what they voted for. The rest of us did not vote for it.

Non-CA pork producers will have to rationalize production capacity to account for the loss of the CA market. In the short term, pork prices for the rest of us will decline. That only harms pork producers. Consumers benefit.

What Grassley and Ernst are doing is trying to insulate Iowa (and other non-CA pork producers) from short term lower pork prices.

Grassley and Ernst are wrong.

    Your economic analysis is correct, but it does not address the real problem, the infringement upon Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause.

    Grassley and Ernst aren’t addressing this either, and are arguably just making the situation worse.

Being an MOT (albeit no longer observant), bacon per se is not an issue I worry about.

But I think that this is scary for two reasons:

a) CA is using its size to control markets across the country, just like it has done with school textbooks. Although TX has been somewhat of a counterweight here.

b) This is ultimately a war by the left to enforce vegetarianism, and ultimately veganism. And no matter what leftists say, veganism is not healthy for you over the long term, especially for males.