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Controversial livestock feed bill pulled

Todd Fitchette wfp-todd-fitchette-degroot-dairy-114.jpg
Food processing byproducts are a common feed source for dairy cattle and other livestock. A plan by the California Assembly would effectively ban this practice by removing an exemption by companies that haul these products. Critics say the move would further protect franchise trash haulers from outside competition and allow them to raise rates.
Critics said California livestock producers could lose food processing byproducts as a feed source under the state plan.

A controversial state bill that critics feared would lead to an effective ban on feeding food byproducts to livestock has been pulled from consideration.

Assembly Bill 2959 would have forced the unfranchised hauling of organic byproducts from grocery stores, restaurants, breweries, and wineries to be subjected to the same franchise agreements municipalities now have with select companies. Some feared the bill would go further as unintended consequences were realized.

Louie Brown, a lobbyist representing the California Grocers Association, said recently the bill would further compound the challenges of meeting state mandates to divert organic waste away from landfills.

“California cannot meet its organic diversion goals now,” Brown said in July. “Let’s do the best we can with the waste we now have without making the problem worse.”

The bill by Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, would have been heard this week in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee but was pulled Tuesday and will not be pursued this year, the California Farm Bureau Federation reported.

Under current practices, livestock producers pay a nominal fee to haulers to have organic byproducts delivered. These products tend to be less expensive than other feed sources while providing proper nutrition for livestock.

Under the bill, producers of these byproducts would have needed to pay franchise waste haulers to remove these byproducts, rather than have someone pay to take them.

The Farm Bureau and other opponents argued the bill would have forced more food waste into landfills rather than being used to feed animals.

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