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Pork Industry Grapples With Whiplash of Shifting Regulations


These were supposed to be boom times for Pederson’s Natural Farms.In the days this spring after the Supreme Court upheld a California law banning the sale of certain pork products made from pigs raised in small gestation pens, the phones were ringing off the hook at Pederson’s headquarters in Hamilton, Texas.California grocery stores and restaurants were desperate to line up supplies of bacon and pork chops that met the new state standards by a July 1 deadline. Pederson’s products filled the bill, and the company was happy to help send them to California, which consumes about 15 percent of the nation’s pork.“We were going to have a good year,” said Neil Dudley, the vice president at Pederson’s. “We were putting it in the budget. We were going to put pressure on us to grow, but the extra income would help fund that growth.”But a couple of weeks later, some of those new orders were canceled as California regulators pushed back the full force of the law, known as Proposition 12, to early next year, allowing grocery stores and restaurants to use up pork they had …

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