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WPX: How US producers can prepare for Prop 12

14 June 2021, at 12:30am

Fritz Richards, sales director for Hog Slat, spoke to The Pig Site at the World Pork Expo about Proposition 12 (Prop 12) and what they are seeing in the field as the industry prepares.

Fritz Richards, sales director for Hog Slat, spoke to The Pig Site's Sarah Mikesell at the World Pork Expo about Prop 12 and its impact.

Prop 12 is legislation from California that is set to go in effect in January 2022. To learn more details about Prop12, click here.

The initial rulings on the case indicated that pork producers will be required to have 24 square feet per sow in sow units, and animals cannot be confined for more than six hours at a time and not more than 24 hours in a 30-day period. This will require change in the way producers manage animals on the farm.

“You have three different options when they're going to convert a farm,” said Richards. “The biggest change is going to 24 ft2 per sow. Traditionally, we have between 17 and 19 ft2 per animal. You'll increase 25% to 35% of the space required. The first option is that you don't add any facilities, which means you're going to have to decrease your herd inventory by 25% to 35%. Each sow has to have more space, so you can't fit as many sows into the existing facilities.

"You can add on the facility to maintain the inventory, but that depends on your estate and if you can build an additional barn or if you can get a permit for an additional barn and if you have a space to be able to add a barn.”

The first option is dependent on conditions of the producers’ existing facilities and their ability to convert. When producers convert their farms to fit the new Prop 12 legislation standards, if the farm is in a shallow pit with a partially sided barn and it has troughs already in place, it's difficult to move pens around, he said. If the farm has a deep pit and slatted barn, producers will have more options for reconfiguration of space.

Another option for producers is breeding gilts off site, then bringing them into the farrowing house. However, there are a lot of questions and concerns that producers have to consider. Hog Slat's standard protocol is to review the existing facility and outline all the options for the producer so they can determine what option works best for them.

The final rulings for Prop 12 aren’t pubic yet, so many producers are waiting to make decisions until that time.

“The area that affects a producer the most is in the breeding area. Traditionally, you breed in a stall,” said Richards. “Now we can't use a traditional stall. Hog Slat has created a free access stall that gives the sow the ability to go in and out freely, and then you can lock the stall down for less than six hours. This allows producers to breed her in the stall then open it back up so she can go in and out.”

As a global company, Hog Slat began developing the stall 10 years ago for their EU market. Now, the company has been able to bring it to the US market for Prop 12.

“Producers should reach out to their nearest Hog Slat sales rep,” said Richards. “We’ve done a tremendous number of these retrofits and laying them out. The best thing is that you know what your options are and what the costs are, and then you can apply that back to working with your packer.”