Iowa officials have sent a letter this week to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to marshal support for the farm bill amendment proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) which would prevent individual states from dictating agriculture production practices in other states.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey urged support of the amendment to “enable Iowa’s agricultural producers to help feed a growing world population at prices that families can afford.”
The letter stated that supporting the King amendment will prevent a few large states like California and New York from dictating how agriculture is performed in Iowa and other states.
The King amendment would still allow states to restrict agricultural operations within their own state borders and jurisdiction, but not restrict the sale of certain agriculture goods produced differently in another state.
“There are already federal, state and local food safety laws to protect consumers and opposition to the King amendment in all practicality would mean California and a few other big states could dictate how family farmers and agricultural producers all across the country have to produce their products.
“The amendment would not prevent states from imposing future food safety requirements and merely clarifies that a state cannot prohibit the import of a product from another state based solely on that product’s means of production. If a state so chose, it could enact labeling requirements for various modes of production.”
The letter pointed out that regulatory production restrictions, similar to those which California seeks to impose, have already been implemented in Europe and have led to increased food costs. “According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2012, the average price of 10 eggs in the Czech Republic more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, and consumers on average across the entire EU were forced to pay 76.5% more per egg in 2012 than they paid in 2011. EU restrictions have had a very negative impact on the availability of eggs to the average consumer,” the letter stated. There is concern a farm bill without the King Amendment would lead to higher food prices that would disproportionately impact low income families.
“Iowa’s agricultural producers and national farm organizations have spoken up loud and clear in support of the King Amendment and we encourage you to stand with Iowa’s farm economy. In short, we believe Iowa farmers can make better decisions for their operation than Sacramento bureaucrats and animal rights activists. We also encourage you to support the King amendment to prevent significant increases in food prices and a trade war among the states. If the King amendment is not included in the Farm Bill, we are very concerned the conversation will quickly move beyond how chickens are produced in Iowa or Arkansas to how milk is produced in Wisconsin or Vermont or to how corn and soybeans are grown in the Midwest,” the letter concluded.