You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Perry signs Texas local food bills
AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry signed the three local foods bills passed by the Texas Legislature this session June 14, according to a Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance press release. The cottage foods bill, the farmers market bill, and the DSHS [Department of State Health Services] Better Communications bill all help make it easier for local farmers and food producers to raise and sell the healthy, local foods that so many consumers are increasingly seeking out.
The cottage food bill expands on last session’s cottage foods law, allowing cottage food producers to make low-risk foods -- such as baked goods, jams and jellies, dried herbs, dried fruits and vegetables, granolas, dry mixes, pickles, and coffee/tea mixes -- and sell at places such as farmers markets and community events, as well as from home.
The “Farmers Market” Bill establishes clear, reasonable standards for sampling at farmers markets and farm stands, replacing the current overly burdensome and confusing regulations. The bill also clarifies the requirements for cooking demonstrations and exempts educational demonstrations from permit fees.
The DSHS Better Communications Act directs the Department of State Health Services to respond within 30 days to inquiries about how the law applies to a farmer’s or food producer’s specific circumstances, so they can comply in good faith. Farmers and small-scale food producers have faced serious problems in the past because of the inability to determine what is actually required under the regulations.
Both the cottage foods and farmers market bills were supported by the Texas Farm-to-Table Caucus, a first of its kind in the nation founded in the spring of 2012 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, and Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham.
These bills faced opposition from some powerful players at the Legislature, including the Texas Retailers Association and the Texas Municipal League. Passage of these bills is evidence that a grass-roots movement can outweigh money and influence.
“The local food movement is growing by leaps and bounds,” explained Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. “Just a few years ago, legislators had no idea that there even was such a thing as ‘a local foods movement.’ In a session notable for the number of bills that died without being voted on, the fact that three separate local foods bills passed reflects the legislators’ awareness of the many benefits this movement provides, for both rural and urban communities.”
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Beef Cattle Management seminar (August 26, 2015)
Cotton root rot and its symptoms (August 26, 2015)
Feral hogs, water workshop (August 26, 2015)
Get acquainted with 4-H event (August 26, 2015)
Harvey places in top 20 (August 26, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 26, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 26, 2015)
Mobile app for hunting regs (August 26, 2015)
Registration for cattle conference (August 26, 2015)
Survey deadline (August 26, 2015)
Turkey fed to improve Texas grasslands (August 26, 2015)
Wilson County 4-H Council, Booster meetings, Sept. 2 (August 26, 2015)
Anthrax confirmed in equine in Uvalde County (August 19, 2015)
Deer association: Environmental group deceives deer industry, wildlife community (August 19, 2015)
Don’t miss your shot! Apply for drawn hunts (August 19, 2015)
Feral hog management workshop is Sept. 4 (August 19, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 19, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 19, 2015)
Prospects bright for dove season (August 19, 2015)
Saving tomatoes from the Texas heat (August 19, 2015)
Siblings make rodeo memories (August 19, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 19, 2015)
Chagas disease in South Central Texas (August 12, 2015)
Eastern equine encephalitis cases reported in Texas (August 12, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 12, 2015)
Leaf-dropping is common (August 12, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 12, 2015)
New, stronger El Niño may bring another wet winter (August 12, 2015)
Pieniazek elected president of ag education leadership (August 12, 2015)
EPA ‘muddies’ Clean Water Act (August 5, 2015)
Hay & Forage Report (August 5, 2015)
It’s a ‘banner’ summer for Payton! (August 5, 2015)
Lantanas losing luster; mosquitoes a bother (August 5, 2015)
Livestock Market Reports (August 5, 2015)
Meuths receive Bronze Merit Award (August 5, 2015)
Shoot to benefit Don Newbury (August 5, 2015)
TDA Market Report (August 5, 2015)
August 2015 Gardening Calendar (August 1, 2015)