Nevada adopts extensive regulation of large egg producers

The Legislature on the final day of the 81st session, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Carson City.

The Legislature on the final day of the 81st session, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Carson City. Photo: David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

During this year’s Nevada legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill designed to make large egg producers adopt more humane, environmentally friendly practices.

Assemblyman Howard Watts, D-Las Vegas, chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, said similar legislation has already been adopted by neighboring states including California.

He said 
AB399 will prevent large-scale producers of eggs and egg products from thinking they can escape those regulations by moving their operations to Nevada.

The law prohibits producers with more than 3,000 hens from confining those hens in enclosures of less than one square foot of usable space, effective July 1, 2022.

It also requires that by July 2024, egg producers provide hens with a cage-free housing system. It applies to female chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and guinea fowl.

“It was actually something brought to me by both the humane society and an association of major egg producers,” Watts said. “They recognize and support to egg industry moving in this direction.”

Producers that fall under the law will be required to get a certificate from the Nevada Department of Agriculture stating that they follow the law in order to sell eggs in the state.

Until AB399, Watts said Nevada had minimal regulation of egg and egg product producers.

“This kind of puts on the record that we want to make sure eggs sold here come from cage-free producers,” he said.

Small farms and individuals who have a few chickens, as well as producers with fewer than 3,000 hens, are exempt from the law.

The Assembly voted 27-15 to approve AB399, while the Senate approved it in a 16-15 vote.

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed it into law June 4; it becomes effective on Oct. 1, 2021. 


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