A coalition of livestock and general farm organizations are urging Congress to reject the egg production agreement between the United Egg Producers (UEP) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The agreement would mandate standards for egg production by transitioning from battery cages to “enriched” housing systems, including perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas. The new system would nearly double the current space provided for laying hens. Under the agreement, eggs produced that do not meet the new standards would not be allowed for sale in the United States. In a letter to the House Agriculture Committee, the groups said, “While we think this proposal is an unconscionable federal overreach, our gravest concern is that this precedent could leach into all corners of animal farming, irreparably damaging the livelihoods of family farmers across the country.” The coalition is also concerned that the new standards would increase cost by nearly $10 billion and would eliminate jobs. Those signing the letter include American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, Egg Farmers of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council and National Turkey Federation.

California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Ruled Unconstitutional – California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court in California. The court ruled that the LCFS is in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The two major ethanol organizations, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy, said “The state of California overreached in creating its low carbon fuel standard by making it unconstitutionally punitive for farmers and ethanol producers outside of the state’s border.” RFA and Growth Energy had filed their suit in 2009 arguing that the California law violates the commerce clause by seeking to regulate farming and ethanol production practices in other states. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

FDA Restricting Cephalosporin Antibiotics in Animals – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an order to restrict the use of cephalosporin antibiotics in cattle, swine, chickens and turkeys. Now extra label drug use (ELDU) of cephalosporins will only be allowed to treat or control, but not prevent a disease. The FDA said it would restrict other uses of the drugs to the doses, frequencies, duration or routes of administration that are currently approved. FDA had originally proposed restricting all uses of ELDUs in 2008.

Every Vote Counts in Iowa Caucus – The Iowa caucuses proved that every vote counts with former Governor Mitt Romney winning by a mere eight votes over former Senator Rick Santorum. Congressman Ron Paul was a close third place, former Speaker Newt Gingrich finished fourth, followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman. The key story was the surge in the final days by Santorum. In the last two weeks of the campaign, Santorum went from the bottom in the polls to nearly match front-runner Romney. Congresswoman Bachman announced ended her campaign after a poor showing. Governor Perry announced he is reassessing his campaign. The campaign now moves to the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10, where Romney is favored to win.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.