Branstad stands up for Iowa egg producers
DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad joined a lawsuit Thursday in the Eastern District of California opposing California’s egg-production law that discriminates against Iowa’s egg producers.
Branstad, along with other five other states, argues that California’s egg-production law is unconstitutional and violates the commerce clause.
“The burdensome law from the state of California effectively regulates the industry across state lines, hurts Iowa agriculture and is detrimental to Iowa egg producers,” said Branstad. “Iowa is by far the leading egg producing state in the nation. This law is an unwarranted burden being imposed on Iowa’s producers by another state and violates the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution.”
Iowa’s egg farmers lead the nation in egg production by producing nearly 15 billion eggs per year. Almost one out of every five eggs produced in the United States is produced in Iowa. The Iowa egg industry contributes about $2 billion in total sales and impacts about 8,000 jobs.
“Gov. Branstad and I know a strong agricultural economy is critical to our continued economic growth,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “California’s law adversely affects Iowa agricultural jobs, and we believe its negative effects and regulations felt by egg producers across the country is a violation of the commerce clause. We’re pleased that Democrats and Republicans are coming together in support of agriculture and against onerous regulations.”
The lawsuit, which was filed by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and co-signed by the attorney generals of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Gov. Branstad, argues that the court should rule that California’s law violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The commerce clause prohibits any state from enacting legislation that regulates conduct wholly outside its borders, protects its own citizens from out-of-state competition, or places undue burdens on interstate commerce.
“California’s effort to unconstitutionally limit the ability of Iowa farmers to access California’s consumers must be stopped. I support all efforts to uphold the right of Iowa farmers to sell their products, including eggs, in every state free from unconstitutional restraints imposed by any state,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
California’s law puts unnecessary burdens on Iowa farms which could force some Iowa farmers out of business.
Facts about Iowa egg production
Iowa is the No. 1 state in egg production. Iowa farmers produce more than 14.4 billion eggs per year.
Approximately 9.1 percent of those eggs — 1.07 billion eggs per year — are sold in California.
Iowa farmers export more eggs to California than any other state. Thirty percent of the eggs imported to California are produced in Iowa.