SALEM, Ohio — The Ohio egg industry is waiting to see if a new California law will have an impact here in the Buckeye State.
The law, signed into effect July 6, will require all eggs sold in California to come from hens that have room to move, lie down and spread their wings without touching each other. The new law extends the state’s Proposition 2 requirements to all eggs sold in the state — even those produced in other states.
California rules don’t take effect until 2015, but producers are already trying to figure out what kind of housing will meet the standards.
According to the Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio is the second largest egg producer in the United States.
However, the OPA does not have any statistics available as to whether or not Ohio eggs are reaching California shelves.
OPA Executive Vice President Jim Chakeres said the organization is designed to promote eggs and does not have knowledge of any individual farms and who they are selling eggs to in the country.
Some industry observers believe the standard being set in California laying hen housing will become the standard elsewhere in the country.
The recent compromise reached between Ohio, major farm organizations and the Humane Society of the United States, recommends the state deny any permits of new egg facilities that would use battery cages.
Many in the egg industry in Iowa want to move to a European designed caging system that allows hens to perch and move around. However, HSUS is stating it is also against the law to cage the birds in that manner and would prefer a cageless system.
Chakeres said it is too early for Ohio producers to know how the California laws will affect them because the deadline is still over four years away.
He said a lot could change between now and then and it is just too early to develop a plan and have it changed many times over before 2015 gets close.
Chakeres said, however, the organization is concerned with all marketing facets of the egg industry and will be keeping an eye on the situation.
(A previous version of this story incorrectly stated 2015 was a target date for changes to be made to battery cages in Ohio.)