From the salty waters of the Port of Oakland to the halls of University of California, Davis, and the steps of the California State House in Sacramento, Farm Bureau members from across Iowa listened and gained insight on how decisions made 1,700 miles away from home can impact their farms.

In March, 22 Farm Bureau members traveled with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) staff to California on the Market Study Tour to learn more about the roll out of Proposition 12, a voter approved rule that puts arbitrary housing standards on hogs, chickens and veal calves that produce meat or eggs sold in the state, no matter where they are raised.

“I’m acutely more aware of how things work in California now,” said Hancock County Farm Bureau member Rachel Johnson. “If it is true that ‘as California goes, so goes the nation,’ then we had better be keeping a better eye on what’s happening here.”

Members were greeted in Sacramento by California Farm Bureau’s (CAFB) First Vice President Shaun Crook and CAFB Senior Counsel Keri Fisher, who shared a primer on the agriculture industry in their state.

Crook said that in California, two issues agriculture grapples with are burdensome regulations and access to water. 

Like other western states, Crook said California has a water distribution problem. “All the water we have here is in the north, while most of the agriculture is in the south,” he said.

As for regulations on agriculture, Crook said these...