Federal Policy News
March 31, 2022
Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to California's Prop 12
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a challenge to California’s Proposition 12 (or Prop 12), a ballot measure that passed in 2018 which mandates farm animal confinement standards and prevents the sale of pork, veal, and eggs within the state from producers that do not meet these standards. CAFB has supported the challenge, which has been spearheaded by the National Pork Producers Council.

Part of the arguments against the validity of Prop 12 focus on the “Dormant Commerce Clause,” a doctrine that limits state laws that unduly burden or discriminate against neighboring states. In addition, AFBF and NPPC have argued that the Prop 12 requirements are arbitrary in nature and fail to accomplish the goal that voters were originally intending with the ballot measure. Although an exact timeline has not yet been set, the Court will hear arguments from both sides later this year.
USDA Announces $23.6M in Meat and Poultry Inspection Grants with Rollout of Technical Assistance Program to Assist on Grant Applications
On March 25th, USDA announced the launch of the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA) to provide technical assistance to meat and poultry grant applicants and grant-funded projects. Processors and applicants involved with the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP) can access this technical assistance.  
USDA also announced it is now accepting applications for $23.6 million in competitive grant funding available through the MPIRG program. Applications must be submitted electronically through by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 24, 2022. For more information about grant eligibility and previously funded projects, visit the MPIRG webpage, or contact USDA at AMS offers webinars for new applicants to help walk them through the application process while also providing helpful hints on what has made past recipients successful. Grants management specialists are also able help answer and direct your questions and emails during regular business hours.
Lastly, USDA is also extending to May 11, 2022, the application deadline for the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP), which provides funding to expand meat and poultry processing capacity. For additional information, applicants and other interested parties are encouraged to visit the MPPEP website above or submit questions to
CAFB Holds Ag Labor Survey and Encourages Participation
CAFB would like to encourage your feedback on an agricultural labor survey just released in partnership with UC Davis and Arizona State University. The survey examines how farmers adapted to reduced worker availability, how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted farming operations, and the extent to which labor-saving technologies are helping mitigate problems stemming from labor shortages. The results will be used for a statistical study to inform farmers, community leaders, and policy makers on how these issues are impacting the agricultural sector here in California. The survey should only take about ten minutes to complete and will remain completely anonymous.
President Unveils 2023 Budget Proposal
Earlier this week, President Biden released his proposed budget for FY2023, which tallies in at nearly $6 trillion in spending. Although presidents’ budgets are generally more of a symbolic gesture, they can help underscore the priorities of the incumbent administration. In addition, Congressional leaders could be influenced to include certain aspects of the proposal into their own work. The president’s proposal includes over $31 billion in discretionary spending for the USDA, including a targeted focus on expanding investments in climate resilience in the agricultural sector.

Per a USDA release, the spending includes $1.77 billion in funding to address climate change across private, working agricultural land. It would also provide close to $700 million in new funding for the US Forest Service as they look to reduce wildfire risks, restore impacted ecosystems, and protect other affected communities, as well as additional monetary support for the expansion of rural broadband. Many of these funds would be on top of already-earmarked initiatives passed in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework passed late last year. It remains to be seen how much of these ideas Democratic leaders will take into consideration as they craft their own budget. 
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Sara Arsenault
Federal Policy, Director
Matthew Viohl
Federal Policy, Associate Director
Erin Huston
Federal Policy, Consultant