Jan 31, 2012

The incredible/regrettable egg bill-Which is it?

My incredibly talented husband has a gift of words. He gets to tell Agriculture's story every day the good and the bad. This is one of those issues that may inspire varying views, depending on who you are and what you do. Matt wrote this about HR 3798

H.R. 3798 has been introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., Jeff Denham, R-Calif., Elton Gallegly, R-Calif, and Sam Farr, D-Calif. The bill will require egg producers to essentially double the space allotted per hen and make other changes during a tiered phase-in period that allows farmers time to make the investments in better housing, with the assurance that all will face the same requirements by the end of the phase-in period.

Here are my thoughts.

I have a more hands off approach when it comes to government regulations and control. As farmer producers we know what is best for our livestock or our crops and we want to do what is best for our end product no matter what it may be. Sometimes being more open minded and making a tough decision which seems unnecessary at the time is for the greater good not so far down the road.

This issue is a tough one because it involves animals and what is defined as best standard of care coming from a group that most generally we do not support. There are many years of science based research and on farm experiences concerning what environments are best for the most happy and healthy animals before they enter our food chain. Ohio is the #2 state in egg production and supports this Federal Bill. A mentor of mine who happens to be the Executive Director of the Ohio Poultry Association Jim Chakeres shares this thoughts and the thoughts of egg producers in Ohio.

“Ohio egg farmers and processors strongly support federal legislation introduced on January 23, 2012 to amend the Egg Product Inspection Act. HR 3798 will provide for uniform standards for laying hen housing and care – a measure that is needed and will benefit our state’s egg industry. The Egg Products Inspection Act was chosen as the vehicle to carry these changes because the issues addressed in the legislation are specific to our industry; that is why this Act is the appropriate place to implement them,” “While all egg farmers are committed to excellent care of their flocks, rules for how egg-laying hens are housed vary greatly across states. Individual states have enacted housing restrictions via legislative process or ballot initiatives. Challenges in other states are currently underway. More of these changes will continue to occur without a national solution.
“Because the egg market is national in scope, this patchwork approach to the regulation of hen housing means there is no standardization across states. Ohio is the second-largest egg producing state in the nation. Our farms market eggs into virtually every state, and without a uniform standard, farmers could be forced to have a separate barn for each state or region that receives Ohio eggs. HR 3798 will provide the framework to maintain the viability of Ohio’s egg farms and to ensure our state’s farmers can continue to produce safe, affordable, high-quality eggs.”

For the full story: The incredible/regrettable egg bill — which is it? That depends on who you ask. American consumers overwhelmingly support the national legislation regarding egg production that was introduced last week in Congress. What do you think?

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