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Will Egg Farmers Give up the California Market Because of Prop 2? Alabamaís Still Fighting


Giving up sales to California will be difficult, not to mention costly for farmers.

Prop 2 may force a lot of hands come January 1. What will the farmers do? What will the consumers do? These are all questions that remain to be answered. Giving up sales to California will be difficult, not to mention costly for farmers. Thatís because the Golden State has one of the largest egg markets in the country, importing four billion eggs and producing another five billion, according to The deadline coming up in just two months will mandate that farmers must comply with Prop 2 through the enlargement of their chicken coops for egg-laying hens. This has been costing farmers in many states millions of dollars, with some saying itís just not worth it and could very well put them out of business. Many farmers feel as though they must move on to other states in terms of sales to recoup their losses and preserve their business. As such, many farmers are giving up, but states like Alabama wonít go down without a fight.

Federal judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by Alabama

Just to recap a bit, in October, a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by Alabama and five other states who claimed that Prop 2 was unconstitutional and that one state has no right to impose laws on another state. Prop 2 was passed in 2008 mandating that all shelled eggs sold in California had to be raised in larger cages than the current standard. Despite the recent overturned ruling by the judge, Alabama is still fighting. However, Alabama doesnít even export eggs to California; in fact, it has to import them from Georgia and other states due to a deficit within its borders. However, states like Alabama continue to challenge the basis of Prop 2 because it doesnít just affect egg-laying hens but the humane treatment of other animals as well. Setting a precedent with Prop 2 and eggs, they say, easily leads to encroachment of governance in other areas.

This is a state that uses synthetic fertilizers to grow crops

The funny thing is, no oneís pointing out the fact that about one third of the countryís produce comes from California. This is a state that uses limited resources to grow food in what is essentially a desert area, which means the soil is dry thanks to very little annual rainfall. Farmers use synthetic fertilizers to grow crops, which in turn pollute the groundwater, and that water is sold to consumers. Take a look at southeastern states by comparison, which get more than 50 inches of rain per year with rich soils conducive to successful† crops like corn and wheat. Opponents of Prop 2 canít understand why a state like CA, then, should have the power to tell farmers in other states how to run their agricultural operations when they themselves employ less than environmentally sound practices. But the image people have in their heads of farmers from middle America driving truckloads of eggs to California for sale isnít the typical scenario. Usually, those farmers sell to wholesalers who in turn sell to California or wherever else thereís a demand.

Come January, will the voters in California finally wake up and realize the effects of Prop 2 when the prices on their cartons of eggs at the supermarket go up? Time will tell.


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