IOWA GOVERNOR, AG SECRETARY ENCOURAGE SUPPORT OF KING AMENDMENT
Earlier today, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey together issued a letter calling for Iowa U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, member of the Farm Bill conference committee, to support the King Amendment.
You can read their full statement below:
December 3, 2013
The Honorable Tom Harkin
United States Senator
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Harkin:
We write to urge your support of Congressman King’s amendment to the Farm Bill in the conference committee to enable Iowa’s agricultural producers to help feed a growing world population at prices that families can afford.
Supporting the King amendment will prevent a few large states like California and New York from dictating the modes of agricultural production in Iowa and other states. Congressman King’s amendment would still allow states to restrict agricultural operations within their own state borders and jurisdiction, but the amendment would not allow any state to violate the Commerce Clause by restricting the sale of certain agriculture goods produced differently in another state. There are already federal, state and local food safety laws to protect consumers and opposition to the King amendment in all practicality would mean California and a few other big states could dictate how family farmers and agricultural producers all across the country have to produce their products. The amendment would not prevent states from imposing future food safety requirements and merely clarifies that a state cannot prohibit the import of a product from another state based solely on that product’s means of production. If a state so chose, it could enact labeling requirements for various modes of production.
We are very concerned that a Farm Bill lacking the King Amendment would lead to higher food prices that would disproportionately impact low income families. Regulatory production restrictions, similar to those which California seeks to impose, have already been implemented in Europe and have led to increased food costs. In just one example, new cage size laws in the European Union have decreased the supply of eggs to consumers in Central and Eastern Europe. According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2012, the average price of 10 eggs in the Czech Republic more than doubled from 2011 to 2012, and consumers on average across the entire EU were forced to pay 76.5% more per egg in 2012 than they paid in 2011. EU restrictions have had a very negative impact on the availability of eggs to the average consumer.
Iowa’s agricultural producers and national farm organizations have spoken up loud and clear in support of the King Amendment and we encourage you to stand with Iowa’s farm economy. In short, we believe Iowa farmers can make better decisions for their operation than Sacramento bureaucrats and animal rights activists. We also encourage you to support the King amendment to prevent significant increases in food prices and a trade war among the states. If the King amendment is not included in the Farm Bill, we are very concerned the conversation will quickly move beyond how chickens are produced in Iowa or Arkansas to how milk is produced in Wisconsin or Vermont or to how corn and soybeans are grown in the Midwest. We appreciate your time and consideration.
Terry E. Branstad
Governor of Iowa
Secretary, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
cc: Iowa congressional delegation
Tom Vilsack, Secretary, USDA
Iowa agricultural associations