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Karina Jones is a real-life ranch wife in the Nebraska Sandhills, Field Director for R-CalfUSA and one of the most highly sought-after speakers in the cattle industry nationwide!
And now the NEW VOICE of Farm & Ranch Country, Karina Jones –
To EATS or not to EATS? That is the question! Good day everyone in farm and ranch country. This high and dry weather pattern has harvest ramping up across the grain belt, which is not to be said about current Farm Bill progress.
One of the issues that is taking up furious debate in the countryside is a bill called the EATS Act, which stands for “The Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression Act.” This legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate by a Republican team of lawmakers who are taking direct aim at the controversial California Proposition 12 or Prop 12. In totality the EATS Act would prevent states from regulating ag products. In this case, the people of California have spoken, and the Supreme Court has their back.
If the people of California have chosen to say, “hey we only want meat raised a certain way” isn’t that their constitutional right? Should the federal government be able to come in and say, “no, you will buy meat raised however the powers that be see fit.” What happened to “the consumer is always right?”
Well, this isn’t the 1940’s and no one cares what the consumer thinks when it is big ag that calls the shots. The implications of the EATS Act are being called under fire. First of all, does it even pass the sniff test, I mean the constitutionality test? States have sovereignty. They are able to self-govern and this appears to be a clear federal overreach that would violate that sovereignty. California is not shutting out conventional pork producers from accessing their market, they are just saying, “our people have spoken, and we will only buy pork raised a certain way.” So, you as producers can either adjust your production methods or sell your pork to Nevada.
And now a bi-partisan army of lawmakers is siding with California and opposing the EATS Act as well. Recently, 171 US Representatives and 30 Senators have sent a letter to the House Ag Committee is in loud opposition of the EATS Act stating,
“The EATS Act goes beyond overturning Proposition 12 to threaten many other state laws. The bill is particularly draconian in that it aims to negate state and local laws even if there is no federal standard to take their place, creating an overnight regulatory vacuum. In doing so, H.R. 4417 would drastically broaden the scope of federal preemption and impede the ability of voters and elected officials to enact laws that address local concerns. The range of potentially impacted laws is vast and covers every state.9 A sample of categories that could be impacted includes measures to protect against invasive pests, prevent infectious diseases, improve food safety, address agricultural concerns such as seed standards, and promote animal welfare and consumer protection regarding puppy mills and pet food.
We believe that Congress should not usurp the power of states to regulate food and agricultural products in a manner that is responsive to local contexts. The federal government should play a complementary role to the states on agriculture policy, rather than rendering them powerless. “
Further sentiment opposing the EATS Act was echoed by a letter sent by 38 farm and ranch groups.
Tune in next week as I bring you more ag news from our nation’s capital!
Karina ranches with her husband, Marty, and 4 children near Broken Bow, NE. She grew up in western NE, with roots also in southwest SD. The cattle industry and raising kids is her passion.
Tune in Fridays on The Hot Barn Report, where she deep dives into cattle industry issues and highlights industry reforms or listen to Ranch Raised with Karina Jones a slice of daily life on the Jones Ranch.