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Breaking News, California soon to be baconless

kruizer

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AP Photo/Eric Risberg
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Thanks to a reworked menu and long hours, Jeannie Kim managed to keep her San Francisco restaurant alive during the coronavirus pandemic.
That makes it all the more frustrating that she fears her breakfast-focused diner could be ruined within months by new rules that could make one of her top menu items — bacon — hard to get in California.

“Our number one seller is bacon, eggs and hash browns,” said Kim, who for 15 years has run SAMS American Eatery on the city’s busy Market Street. “It could be devastating for us.”
At the beginning of next year, California will begin enforcing an animal welfare proposition approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves. National veal and egg producers are optimistic they can meet the new standards, but only 4% of hog operations now comply with the new rules. Unless the courts intervene or the state temporarily allows non-compliant meat to be sold in the state, California will lose almost all of its pork supply, much of which comes from Iowa, and pork producers will face higher costs to regain a key market.
Animal welfare organizations for years have been pushing for more humane treatment of farm animals but the California rules could be a rare case of consumers clearly paying a price for their beliefs.
With little time left to build new facilities, inseminate sows and process the offspring by January, it’s hard to see how the pork industry can adequately supply California, which consumes roughly 15% of all pork produced in the country.
“We are very concerned about the potential supply impacts and therefore cost increases,” said Matt Sutton, the public policy director for the California Restaurant Association.
California's restaurants and groceries use about 255 million pounds of pork a month, but its farms produce only 45 million pounds, according to Rabobank, a global food and agriculture financial services company.
The National Pork Producers Council has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for federal aid to help pay for retrofitting hog facilities around the nation to fill the gap. Hog farmers said they haven't complied because of the cost and because California hasn't yet issued formal regulations on how the new standards will be administered and enforced.

Barry Goodwin, an economist at North Carolina State University, estimated the extra costs at 15% more per animal for a farm with 1,000 breeding pigs.
If half the pork supply was suddenly lost in California, bacon prices would jump 60%, meaning a $6 package would rise to about $9.60, according to a study by the Hatamiya Group, a consulting firm hired by opponents of the state proposition.
At one typical hog farm in Iowa, sows are kept in open-air crates measuring 14-square-feet when they join a herd and then for a week as part of the insemination process before moving to larger, roughly 20-square foot group pens with other hogs. Both are less than the 24 square feet required by the California law to give breeding pigs enough room to turn around and to extend their limbs. Other operations keep sows in the crates nearly all of the time so also wouldn't be in compliance.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture said that although the detailed regulations aren't finished, the key rules about space have been known for years.
“It is important to note that the law itself cannot be changed by regulations and the law has been in place since the Farm Animal Confinement Proposition (Prop 12) passed by a wide margin in 2018," the agency said in response to questions from the AP.
The pork industry has filed lawsuits but so far courts have supported the California law. The National Pork Producers Council and a coalition of California restaurants and business groups have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to delay the new requirements. The council also is holding out hope that meat already in the supply chain could be sold, potentially delaying shortages.
Josh Balk, who leads farm animal protection efforts at the Humane Society of the United States, said the pork industry should accept the overwhelming view of Californians who want animals treated more humanely.

“Why are pork producers constantly trying to overturn laws relating to cruelty to animals?” Balk asked. “It says something about the pork industry when it seems its business operandi is to lose at the ballot when they try to defend the practices and then when animal cruelty laws are passed, to try to overturn them.”
In Iowa, which raises about one-third of the nation's hogs, farmer Dwight Mogler estimates the changes would cost him $3 million and allow room for 250 pigs in a space that now holds 300.
To afford the expense, Mogler said, he’d need to earn an extra $20 per pig and so far, processors are offering far less.
“The question to us is, if we do these changes, what is the next change going to be in the rules two years, three years, five years ahead?” Mogler asked.
The California rules also create a challenge for slaughterhouses, which now may send different cuts of a single hog to locations around the nation and to other countries. Processors will need to design new systems to track California-compliant hogs and separate those premium cuts from standard pork that can serve the rest of the country.
At least initially, analysts predict that even as California pork prices soar, customers elsewhere in the country will see little difference. Eventually, California’s new rules could become a national standard because processors can’t afford to ignore the market in such a large state.
Kim, the San Francisco restaurant owner, said she survived the pandemic by paring back her menu, driving hundreds of miles herself through the Bay Area to deliver food and reducing staff.

Kim, who is Korean-American, said she’s especially worried for small restaurants whose customers can't afford big price increases and that specialize in Asian and Hispanic dishes that typically include pork.
“You know, I work and live with a lot of Asian and Hispanic populations in the city and their diet consists of pork. Pork is huge,” Kim said. “It’s almost like bread and butter.”
___
Associated Press writers David Pitt in Des Moines, Iowa, and Stephen Groves in Alvord, Iowa, contributed to this story.
___
Follow Scott McFetridge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/smcfetridge
 

TNJAKE

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That whole article was summed up early for me. "Approved overwhelmingly by voters". Sad for the farmers and business owners. But at the end of the day you get what you ask for. Maybe those suppliers will leave that state and come back to America
 

GATOR240

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That stuck out for me too Jake. Not liking where we seem to be heading.
 

jcam222

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That whole article was summed up early for me. "Approved overwhelmingly by voters". Sad for the farmers and business owners. But at the end of the day you get what you ask for. Maybe those suppliers will leave that state and come back to America
Crazy thing is half those voters likely had no clue on the impact of their snowflake vote lol.
 

SmokinEdge

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That whole article was summed up early for me. "Approved overwhelmingly by voters". Sad for the farmers and business owners. But at the end of the day you get what you ask for. Maybe those suppliers will leave that state and come back to America
Comes down to city folks not in tune with where their food comes from. This is sad. They think of pigs as pets, not butcher animals. Huge difference.
 

noboundaries

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Propositions on the ballot in this state play to the emotions of many voters. They are often written so a no vote means yes and visa versa, but that didn't apply in this case. I remember studying that proposition, telling my wife it was going to pass because people weren't going to realize how it was going to impact them in the wallet. The text focused on "mother pigs," "baby calves," etc. Most of the advertising I remember was focused on eggs, not anything else. Studies have shown that a vast majority of CA voters decide how to vote on propositions by advertising alone!

Ah, found the proposition!

Proposition 12 | Official Voter Information Guide | California Secretary of State
Proposition 12 Arguments and Rebuttals | Official Voter Information Guide | California Secretary of State

Hopefully, the courts will stop or overturn this one.

BTW, I sanitized my post. The way it was originally written violated too many forum guidelines. But man, it felt cathartic.

I stocked up on bacon today to vac-seal. I've got 6 butts in the freezer. Might have to triple that.
 

GonnaSmoke

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That whole article was summed up early for me. "Approved overwhelmingly by voters". Sad for the farmers and business owners. But at the end of the day you get what you ask for. Maybe those suppliers will leave that state and come back to America
Yep, that's the line that caught my attention, too. All those snowflakes sitting around the campfire singing kumbaya, patting themselves on the back for another job well done, and believing that they're saving the world one pig at a time. Maybe that'll mean more bacon for the rest of us and prices will come down...
 
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Chasdev

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So bacon and other pork products will cost more until the farmers can do the changes.
The OP assumes nobody will pay more for bacon, but some of us already pay terrific prices for super fancy beef (and pork).
Anybody ever been close to a modern pig farm,It's one of the most disgusting places on earth.
As for me, I would gladly pay more for meat taken from animals that had room to turn around in their cage and I would pay even more for meat taken from pigs what were raised the way they were in the 40's and 50's, which is to say from animals that were allowed to live a normal life before slaughter.
 

schlotz

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I've been around many pig farms. Misguided efforts also have a bottom line which those enacting legislation never address! Many of the same individuals who voted for the law that was portrayed to help mother pigs and their babies lead a more humane existence are going to be the first to complain loudly when the price of bacon, chops, ribs, butts, bellies etc.. skyrocket while at the same time availability plummets. Just another in a long list of examples of poorly informed humans leading more of the same through selling their one sided set of details in order to justify their incorrectly perceived reality. But hey, they call that progress! I'm so glad I do not live in the state.
 

JLeonard

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I can see what the law is trying to address. I have personally started trying to buy more of my meat from a local pasture to plate farm. Their beef and pork are excellent. But again, you pay a premium for that. But, most of the voters for that law didnt look at the big picture. I just hope they like their veggie "meats". I just hope that a lot of the craziness stays west of the Rockies. Lord knows we got enough already on this side of the Mississippi.

Jim
 

JC in GB

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Battery farms are cruel to animals and have a negative environmental impact. Do I want to pay more for meat or anything else to live? No, who would? The reality is far more grim than is being discussed. Meat production requires large amounts of water for feed and animal wellbeing. Currently, there is a rapidly developing water crisis in California mostly due to water mismanagement but also assisted by drought. Similar to the condo collapse in Florida. They all know this is a bag of shit with a time bomb inside, they just don't want to be in office holding the bag when the bomb goes off so they kick the can down the road. Government officials have stated that the Colorado river, where much of the agricultural water comes from, flows at a rate of X gallons per year. The problem is this river hasn't had that amount of flow for years. This fact doesn't stop them from allocating water at the fantasy X rate year after year. They are making numbers up and hoping the rain and snow will save them. I find that unlikely. Lake Meade and Lake Tahoe are at historic low levels and this will only get worse. The west coast isn't alone in this developing emergency. Texas, Oklahoma, and other states that rely on the Oglala aquifer are in for a rude awakening soon as well. The aquifer is being emptied at a far greater rate than it is being replenished. We all know what happens when this happens to your bank account. As much as I love eating meat, I must accept the reality that we will no longer be living lives of abundance in the near future. Decentralized farming and power are the obvious short term solutions. I for one would like to go back to paying farmer Joe for 1/2 of a cow rather than buying it from Cargill. This issue will no doubt cause some pain but these are the kinds of things that we will all be living with in the near future. We ignored a century of warnings and are about to get the bill. If it could even get more dire, the engine for the survival of capitalism is growth. Two major economic studies show that there will be no way to grow the economy any longer around 2040. This will necessitate a fundamental shift in our economic governing style. Up to that point, the economy will face more shortages and disfunctions until it finally collapses. Fun time, fun times.

JC :emoji_cat:
 

Chasdev

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Same thing goes for the cost of goods at Wallyworld, everybody loves cheap clothes, toasters and everything else that's made by near slave wage workers in China (and sometimes outright prison labor) but then they complain about jobs moving overseas.
If everyone who bitches about the jobs loses here would get behind America First manufactured goods then the problem would go away.
 

rc4u

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its like welfare , once they get it their not giving it up...
 

sandyut

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lots of feelings on this... Short version: seems like the timing and thoroughness of the idea and horrible. Conceptually it makes some sense, but as stated above, there is a lot of room for improvement in the food and meat production industry and a comprehensive approach that has less impact on the consumer would be nice. Also - they might want to put this on hold give the supply issues that came out of the pandemic and the insane inflation. they passed this in 2018...the world changed lightyears since then.
 

SmokinAl

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That whole article was summed up early for me. "Approved overwhelmingly by voters". Sad for the farmers and business owners. But at the end of the day you get what you ask for. Maybe those suppliers will leave that state and come back to America
I sure hope so, this is so crazy. I don’t want to start a political discussion here. But I felt much more secure under Trump than I do now. I could go on & on & probably should not post this. And it will probably be taken down, but Covid positive immigrants are taken all over the country. The only positive I see here is The unvaccinated will get Covid & the natural immunity from them will bring us up to herd immunity. And this thing will be over.
Al
 

GaryHibbert

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Well there's no question in MY mind that California has always been a half a bubble off level. They voted the law in, so let them pay the price at the market.
None of this affects me. I buy a pig and half a beef, and butcher it the way I want, every year from local growers. A lot better quality and taste than what I can get in any store.
Gary
 

noboundaries

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The ASPCA out of DC was behind the proposition. If anyone thinks they're gonna stop with CA, I'll take a hit of whatever you're smoking.
 

RiversideSm0ker

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So, I am starting to get a feel for why pork is going through the roof here in Cali. Baby backs were $5.58lb at Sam's yesterday. That's almost a dollar a pound more than they were on the 4th. Pork butt was $2.08lb. I don't see much pork in my future at these prices. I'm not sure that I'll be able to afford veggies soon. What a mess.

G
 

noboundaries

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My guess is that once the prices go through the roof on proteins, and bacon, eggs, chicken, and most beef isn't available, some resume building politician will act to overturn the proposition so they can be the hero. Can they act now? Sure. Will they? Nope.

Man, I hate politics
 

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