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The future according to the King Amendment

by Dan Cash

I’m beginning to wonder if there might be folks out there who never eat omelets because it requires the breaking of eggs.  I’m thinking about a writer in the August 11th Kalamazoo Gazette, and an apparent like-thinker with a byline in a publication in Lubbock Texas, and I assume a few more.  These folks are very concerned about an amendment that is part of the House version of the proposed new Farm Bill.  Note that for the purposes of this legislation, Farm is spelled with two Rs . . FARRM is the acronym for Federal Agriculture Reform & Risk Management act of 2012.  Congress didn’t do that, or much of anything else in 2012, but we’re hopeful for a little something this year - - heck, it’s only August, and they’ll be back in Washington before you know it.

Anyway, our Kalamazoo writer, and the lady from Lubbock are all in a tizzy about the King amendment, so called because it is one of several successes of Representative Steve King in the 4th District in Iowa - - a farm state more so probably than Michigan, but maybe not so much as Texas - - everything being BIG in Texas.

Anyway, Representative King won Committee approval of his proposal to include in the new FARRM bill.  These are his words, from his website - - “. . . . .amendment prohibits states from enacting laws that place onerous conditions on the means of production for agricultural goods that are sold within its own borders, but are produced in other states.” He goes on to explain, “states are entering into trade protectionism by requiring cost prohibitive production methods in other states.”

Explaining still further, King says his proposal covers all agriculture products listed in section 206 of the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946.  Still further, by 2014,California will require only “free range” eggs be sold and the impact of that large market would compel producers in every other state to invest billions to meet the California standard of “means of production”. King goes on to say, and this I really like, his Protect Interstate Commerce Act, will ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at suffocating production agriculture out of existence.

If the King amendment doesn’t survive the ultimate tests, It’ll probably have no effect on farm animals - - but it sure won’t be good for us.

Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma chairs the House Ag Committee; Collin Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota is the Ranking Member, and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia is vice-chairman;  They may very well be the nucleus of the House delegation to the Conference Committee; The Senate has already named its contingent.  It’ll be the Senate Ag committee’s seven most senior Democrats; and five most senior Republicans, except Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Karl Guenther is a retired Kalamazoo farm broadcaster and can be reached at khguenther@att.net. He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.