Ask youself why the same Texas legislators who think it's a good idea to raise the speed limit to 85 MPH on some Texas highways want to put the brakes on fresh, organic, local and sustainable food from family farms, small ranchers and artisan crafters? If you agree it ought to be otherwise, take action!
The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance urges Texans who want more access to fresh, organic, local and sustainable food to attend a public hearing on raw milk, cottage foods and local foods bills at the State Capitol Building on Wednesday, April 20 in Room E2.012 at 8AM.
Here's what's at stake:
• Improving access to raw milk: Grade A licensed farmers can sell raw milk in Texas, but only “on farm,” i.e. consumers must drive out to the farm. HB 75 and SB 237 would allow licensed farmers to sell at farmers markets and make delivery arrangements with their customers. You can read our fact sheet about raw milk http://texasrealmilk.org/Learn-More
• Promoting “cottage foods”: The costs of a commercial kitchen can be prohibitive for start up businesses and small-scale producers. HB 1139 and HB 2084 would allow small-scale producers selling low-risk foods, such as jams, jellies, baked goods, and dried herbs, to sell their products directly to consumers without needing a commercial kitchen.
• Local Foods Omnibus: In addition to promoting cottage foods, HB 2084 would lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers, enable electronic food stamp benefits to be used at farmers markets, and identify the barriers to fair property tax treatment for organic, urban, and sustainable farms.
If you can't make the meeting, call your State Representative and Senator to urge them to co-sponsor the bills and help move them forward. You can find out who represents you at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us or by calling the Texas Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630.
After calling your own legislators, reach out by email to all of the Committee members to urge them to approve these bills as soon as possible with “Support HB 75, 1139, and 2084” in the subject line.
Below is a list of the House Committee members and their emails. If you cannot come to the hearing in person, you can email each Committee member to express your support for the bill. Be sure to put “Support HB 75, 1139, and 2084” in the subject line of your email.
Chairwoman Kolkhorst: Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
Vice Chairman Naishtat: Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us
Representative Alvarado: Carol.Alvarado@house.state.tx.us
Representative Coleman: Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us
Representative Davis: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us
Representative Gonzales: Veronica.Gonzales@house.state.tx.us
Representative King: Susan.King@house.state.tx.us
Representative Lobenberg: Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
Representative Schwertner: Charles.Schwertner@house.state.tx.us
Representative Truitt: Vicki.Truitt@house.state.tx.us
Representative Zerwas: John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us
The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is a non profit organization that represents non-corporate agriculture and animal owners, from homesteaders to horse owners to full-time ranchers,