The CommStock report

Friday, October 5, 2012
David Kruse, president of CommStock Investments, Inc.

There is a twist to the Steve King Congressional campaign for re-election that I never saw coming. It starts outside the state in places like California and Ohio where the HSUS has been able to get animal rights issues on ballots and used the uninformed public to put restrictions on how livestock and produce is husbanded.

They are now dictating to producers the type of livestock facilities, down to cage size or pen type, that can be used for products to be sold in California. The California dairy industry is quickly going broke under the weight of state regulations dictating production practices and pricing. The cost of producing eggs in larger cages will be borne by consumers who say that they will pay more until the cost of food actually rises and then they become alarmed. Californians can fill their gas tanks with $4 per gallon Brazilian ethanol but are denied Iowa ethanol at $2.60 per gallon because of bogus land use assumptions that have been thoroughly disproven by university studies.

In order to stop them from restricting their markets to products produced in other states that do not adopt their production dictates, Steve King got a provision included in the farm bill that says that an egg is an egg wherever it is produced and if it meets the standards of any state in which it is produced, other states cannot deny access to them in their markets. In other words, if Iowa allows a different cage size for chickens than California, interstate commerce laws do not allow California to block the sale of Iowa eggs there.

This means states can't regulate production practices of other states by restricting market access. King explained, "I am pleased that the committee passed my amendment, the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA), because states are entering into trade protectionism by requiring cost prohibitive production methods in other states. PICA blocks states from requiring 'free range' eggs or 'free range' pork but covers all agricultural products listed in section 206 of the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946. By 2014 California will require only 'free range' eggs be sold and the impact of their large market would compel producers in every other state to invest billions to meet the California standard of 'means of production.' PICA will ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence."

I strongly commend Steve King for seeing this problem and crafting a solution to it. This is a reason why Steve King wants the farm bill to move forward and why he intends to be part of the House-Senate conference committee so that he can fight to keep this measure in the final bill. He certainly has my support.

States have the right to regulate their own producers but not the right to deny interstate commerce to others. If California wants to make it a law that chickens can only be produced free range or cattle must be grass fed in California, so be it. They can't, however, embargo Iowa choice beef or Minnesota whole milk from being sold in their state. The ethanol industry is suing to stop California restrictions on their ethanol market blocking U.S. ethanol with carbon rules.

As you can imagine, Steve King's measure in the farm bill goes to the heart of the HSUS master plan to use state initiatives to regulate livestock production in the HSUS reflective image. These kinds of initiatives undermine elected legislatures and are a lot of the reason why California is such an economic invalid. California is voting on GMO food labeling, which will just add another brick to the crushing regulatory burden in that state. The HSUS has not un-surprisingly targeted Steve King for defeat in this re-election bid. The Humane Society Legislative Fund reportedly contributed $1,000 to his opponent's campaign and sent negative television ads, criticizing King on air on Iowa stations, that were so grossly distorting, those stations here refused to air them.

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman said of the HSUS, "We will kick their butt out of Nebraska. HSUS is anti-agriculture. We don't want them in Nebraska. They don't represent our values." I think that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad should take that as his cue.

The 4th District Congressional race has now become a bigger fight than just a contest between two political candidates. It has now become a full-blown showdown between agriculture and an enemy of agriculture, the HSUS. We are not going to have other states tell us how to raise our livestock by denying us market access for our eggs, milk, pork, poultry, beef, ethanol and anything else that is produced in those states.

King's provision in the farm bill protects farm producer rights in interstate commerce. Who is Steve King running against in this election? Oh, that's right ... the HSUS. Given that choice, there is no question how friends of agriculture vote.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments, Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet. CommStock Investments is a registered CTA, as well as an introducing brokerage.

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  • Great article and very informative. Hopefully many who seem to oppose King based on this "animal cruelty" issue will see, read and understand what he is saying and where he is coming from, if not outright switch their positions.

    -- Posted by jlees on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 12:41 AM
  • I've long ago come to the conclusion, if the State of California is for it, I'm against it.

    They are the PERFECT example of why this country is Trillions and Trillions of dollars in debt, and thanks to the land of loonies and their cronies across the country, is rising.

    Can't we just give them to Mexico? It's already Mexico Lite, just complete the deal and call it good (riddance).

    -- Posted by Dick Butkus on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 6:49 AM
  • Sorry but I'm glad they are changing animal husbandry practices. Go into a hog barn or egg laying facility and then tell me you're not disgusted. If we hadn't allowed these practices in the first place farmers wouldn't have to spend the money to change what they already have. So I do feel for the farmer.

    -- Posted by joe2 on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 9:49 AM
  • And you guys wonder why farmers are 'under attack' from consumers.

    Abusive producers created the HSUS. not us.

    -- Posted by TerryWard on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 1:00 PM
  • I've been in a modern day hog barn. Hogs have never had it so good. Plenty of food and water. Toys to play with. No hog bullying and much cleaner than the old days. And it's kept at 60 degrees all year! Get HSUS out of Iowa! Power to the hog producer! Gotta get me some bacon!

    -- Posted by Mechler on Fri, Oct 5, 2012, at 9:03 PM
  • Farmers aren't under attack by consumers, farmers and consumers are under attack by HSUS. No one benefits from the havoc they create but them and certainly not the animals they pretend to make the issue. But the truthful negative press about this phony animal protection charity is becoming abundant and no one but their nervous vegan hangers-on seems to be defending them. Only a matter of time.

    -- Posted by dogsdontlie on Sat, Oct 6, 2012, at 1:49 AM
  • Here is the link to an interesting article in The Sacramento Bee about this:

    -- Posted by Henry Blake on Sat, Oct 6, 2012, at 10:31 AM
  • Our south farm is a few miles from Rembrandt Enterprises a very large caged layer outfit. During a conversation with their grain buyer, I asked him where there eggs went. He said most of it went out either as liquid eggs or as part of cake mixes or other prepared products but they did still sell some whole eggs and most of them went to Europe. I asked him why that was and he replied that when Europe got rid of their caged laying facilities to satisy the animal rights crowd , they no longer were able to produce enough eggs for their consumers. I hope this is not a preview of what happens here. Most of those activists are folks with too much time on their hands and are also folks who have never went too long without enough too eat.

    -- Posted by cow man on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 6:58 AM
  • Sounds like that's the road this country is heading down. But Obama did say he wanted us more like Europe.

    -- Posted by clayfarmer on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 1:06 PM
  • @clayfarmer - What does this possibly have to do with President Obama? It states in the article that Rep. King sponsored the legislation in response to state laws in (among others) California and Ohio. I don't believe the President has ever been in the legislature of either of those states, thus, had no hand in either of the measures.

    -- Posted by Sony on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 3:06 PM
  • Control the food industry and its producers and you control the people to the point of oppression and then extinction.

    -- Posted by Leah Cauthron on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 10:29 AM
  • Leah - I can't tell if that was a response to my question or a random thought. If it was a response, I still have no idea how Obama is blamed for state laws in California and Ohio.

    -- Posted by Sony on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 12:45 PM
  • The whole idea of states rights is each state can try different solutions to similar problems and the better ideas are used. But if you have this nonsense or Federalization of problem the other states are coercied into adopting someone elses ideas. This is the core problem with a federal department of education and Obama care or a long list of other federal solutions where the give us our money back if we adopt their solutions.

    -- Posted by Bison on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 5:03 PM
  • Please don't make fun of the dumb question asker.... but.... is the HSUS essentially the same organization, or otherwise running the establishment that I adopted my cat from?

    When I get mail asking for donations to the Humane Society, am I actually donating to HSUS cause of trying to regulate agriculture rather than feeding homeless dogs and cats (i.e. non-agricultural animals)?

    -- Posted by Don't-take-it-too-serious on Tue, Oct 16, 2012, at 10:12 AM
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