Iowa is a hog state. This you likely already know. More heads of hogs than heads, blah blah. Iowa raises one-third of the United States hogs, blah blah. Well, now Iowa's strong pork export is going to get even stronger as California has made some law changes that will impact how its farmers raise hogs.

Bye-bye California bacon?

Back in 2018, California voters overwhelmingly passed an animal welfare proposition (known as prop 12) that forces farmers who raise animals to provide additional space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens, and veal calves. According to an ABC News report. In the report, farmers who raise the latter, chickens and veal calves, do not feel the new rules will impact them too much and should be manageable. On the flip side, only 4% of hog farm operators feel they can comply as hog enclosures tend to get pretty full. Those not compliant by January 2022 when the new goes into effect, will face fines, or worse.

What does this mean? Simply put: California will likely shed almost all of its pork supply. While many farmers could make the needed changes to be compliant, the cost will be astronomical. The ABC story says it would cost 15% more per animal for a farm with 1,000 breeding pigs to be up to code. Breaking that down, to turn a profit, a farmer will need to make significantly more money per hog. And who do you think will eat (no pun intended) those costs? Why the consumer of course. So what impact does this have for Iowa? Is it good news or bad?

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

What does this mean for Iowa?

While on the surface it may seem good for Iowa (won't they need to buy more pork from somewhere?) It's really not. California hog producers buy most of their animals from Iowa producers. With fewer farmers likely to raise hogs going forward, there won't be as many purchased from California. So put more simply, there will be less demand.

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