Last week, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) filed comments on a Massachusetts state bill (S. 2470) that would make substantive changes to Question 3, a 2016 ballot initiative that prohibits the sale of pork produced using certain production methods.
According to NPPC, Question 3 is, in many ways, substantially similar to Proposition 12, a California ballot initiative which passed in 2018. The Massachusetts initiative is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2022, but first requires the commonwealth’s attorney general to draft implementation rules—which have not been started.
Among changes, S. 2470 would shift primary responsibility for promulgating regulatory requirements to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, with the Massachusetts Attorney General having an advisory role.
The organization offered strong support of this provision, adding, “NPPC is hopeful that this collaboration will lead to a regulatory process that establishes substantive dialogue with the impacted stakeholders, not just farmers but throughout the entire supply chain, to develop final regulations.”
The group also reiterated the need for Question 3’s implementation to be delayed by two years, to Jan. 1, 2024.
“Meeting the requirements of Question 3 is difficult enough to do in normal conditions, requiring significant investments of labor and capital as farmers must convert to a compliant system in order to meet Question 3’s requirements,” NPPC wrote. “The time and cost of this challenge has been exacerbated over the last two years as the industry struggles to overcome the challenges – both to our workers and to the marketplaces for pigs and pork – caused by COVID-19.”