Statement in Response to Western Farm Press Article on Agricultural ByProducts

Roger A. Isom
California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association
Western Agricultural Processors Association

This week, the Western Farm Press published an article entitled “California bill will effectively ban feeding food byproducts to livestock”.  The subtitle states “California livestock producers will lose food processing byproducts as feed source under state plan.”

This statement is misleading and overly broad.  The fear that this legislation will impact hulls and shells is simply unfounded based on its current form.  The legislation referred to in the article is AB 2959 by Assemblyman Calderon, and can be found here.  This bill is limited in scope and is intended to address past legislation pertaining to organic byproducts going to livestock feed.  AB 3036 (Cooley), attempted to clarify that byproducts going to animal feed are not defined as waste and therefore not subject to franchise waste hauler agreements.  It failed in that effort, which is why AB 2959 has been introduced.  This bill seeks to narrow the types of facilities covered by AB 3036 that traditionally divert byproducts for animal feed. Specifically, AB 2959 would exclude supermarkets, grocers, restaurants, and other retail food establishments from the list of facilities covered by AB 3036.  That is it.

Nowhere in the bill does it discuss, or elude to, hulls, shell or any other agricultural byproduct.  These products are not waste; they are a commodity and already protected from inclusion in a franchise waste hauler agreement.   Unfortunately, as is the case with this article, the matter has been sensationalized in an effort to broaden the opposition to the bill.  We are sympathetic to the potential issues this bill would create for the dairy industry in the loss of some organic byproducts.  However, to say that all byproducts, including cottonseed and almond hulls, are in jeopardy is not accurate.  We are closely monitoring this bill, as we have all session long and will continue to do so.