December 22, 2017
By Jeff Helms
MONTGOMERY, Ala., Dec. 22 — Alabama poultry and livestock producers thanked Attorney General Steve Marshall for joining lawsuits against California and Massachusetts for seeking to impose regulations on farmers in other states.
“We appreciate Attorney General Marshall standing up for farmers and agriculture,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “Agriculture is our state’s largest industry. Our poultry and livestock farmers care for their animals and work hard to provide families around the country and world safe, wholesome food. Other states should not be allowed to regulate Alabama farmers.”
On Dec. 5, 2017, Alabama joined 12 other states in filing a lawsuit against the State of California for requiring that eggs sold in that state comply with its regulations governing the housing of laying hens. On Dec. 11, 2017, Marshall signed onto a lawsuit with 12 other states against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for barring the sale of eggs, pork and veal not housed according to its new regulations.
Marshall said the regulations could drive up production costs, ultimately affecting both farmers and consumers. He also said such action establishes bad precedent, which could affect other forms of interstate commerce.
“States and their residents have the right to set their own standards for the production of agricultural goods, especially for reasons of health and safety,” Marshall said. “However, they don’t have the right to impose restrictions on how products from other states are raised, which is what California and Massachusetts have done. Through a series of referendums, both states have attempted to impose costly restrictions on the production of certain agriculture products coming from outside their states and sold within their borders.
“California’s and Massachusetts’ efforts to regulate farming in other states violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution which gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the states,” Marshall added. “If allowed to go unchallenged, such unconstitutional regulations could adversely affect all forms of commerce between states. The citizens of Alabama should not have to live by the liberal edicts of California and Massachusetts.”
Cullman County egg producer Lee Haynes said complying with the regulations would create a financial burden for farmers.
“These regulations are very costly for farmers because they force you to change your housing systems. Production and long-term housing costs also are a lot higher,” said Haynes. “Ultimately, consumers would pay more, which would bring down demand, making the overall impact even greater.”
Click here to read the Attorney Marshall’s news release.