August 26, 2021

Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act Introduced

Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act Introduced

By: Sydney Sheffield

The Exposing Agricultural Trade Suppression Act (EATS Act) was introduced as a rebuttal to California’s Proposition 12 (Prop 12), a policy that would establish minimum space requirements for breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens within the state. It also bans the sale of pork, veal, and eggs from animals raised elsewhere if their living conditions do not meet California’s standards. Read more about it in this May 2021 Taking Stock D.C. article.  

The EATS Act was introduced by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and John Cornyn (R-TX). Prop 12 has undergone scrutiny due to claims that it violates the Commerce Clause. Over 20 states have even challenged Prop 12 and questioned its legitimacy. The senators want to use this bill to ensure farmers and ranchers can sell their products cross-country. 

“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,” Grassley said in a press release. “Iowa has an abundance of agricultural products to offer, and folks from coast to coast should be able to enjoy them. I’m glad to sponsor this bill which will protect Iowa farmers and producers and allow them the freedom to operate their farms as they see fit.”

Although Prop 12 would not entirely ban bacon, it will make pork products more expensive and harder to purchase for consumers. According to the California Pork Producers Association, California consumes about 13% of the nation’s pork. The price of bacon is estimated to increase 60% with the implementation of Prop 12, according to a study by the Hatamiya Group. The proposition is set to become effective January 1, 2022. 

The EATS Act would outlaw state and local governments from interfering with the production or manufacture of agricultural products in other states and challenges those states from interfering in interstate commerce. However, state and local units of government will still be allowed to regulate farming and ranching within their state. The hope of the legislation is to effectively ban propositions and rulings that restrict national agricultural trading. 

“This pro-ag, pro-jobs legislation would establish a federal standard that fosters greater interstate commerce among states without interference from activist city or state governments,” Hyde-Smith stated