Farmers who want to sell pork in California must be able to prove compliance with Prop 12 beginning July 1 of this year. Bernt Nelson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, says a lot of questions remain about the requirements for selling pork within the nation’s largest state.

"The California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA, they’ve put together a series of meetings for every step of the supply chain. And there are a lot of questions about the entities that are purchasing pork that’s non-compliant and if they'll be able to sell it. What products are exempt from Prop 12?," Nelson said. "There are a lot of gray areas about implementation. As these questions have been asked, there aren't a lot of clear-cut answers. There's still a lot of things unfolding, and I think that's the hardest part of this whole thing."

Nelson says the California Department of Food and Agriculture recommends keeping thorough records to prove compliance with Prop 12.

"On the top end of the supply chain, the distributors have to be registered and compliant, and they are required to keep records and a paper trail that goes all the way down to the producer to show compliance," Nelson said. "So, producers that wish to be compliant, they need to keep accurate records. The biggest piece of advice, so far, that CDFA has released is keep records to be sure that you have a paper trail for everything you are doing."

Nelson says the best advice for producers is to contact the California Ag Department to get the answers they’re looking for.

"Get on the CDFA website, register for their series of webinars, and be asking these questions so they can get answers. Do the research, and if we find individuals that are registered distributors, work with them to become compliant," Nelson said. "That's all being said with the expectation of the July 1 implementation date that I think we really have to go by, at this point, as the start date."