Texas raw milk farmer’s license suspended for delivering to private drop point — we need HB 46 to change the law!

An action alert from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance:

Although Texas farmers can get a license to sell raw milk, state regulations limit the sales to “on farm” only.  The state agency’s position is that any form of delivery, even a drop point at a private home when the milk has been pre-purchased, is illegal.Last week, in response to a complaint, the Texas Department of State Health Services suspended a farmer’s raw milk license because of a private drop point.  In order to get his license back, he had to agree not to do any more drop points.  His customers have to drive out to the farm each and every time they want some milk.  This problem is repeated for thousands of families all over the state.

We need to change the law to protect raw milk farmers and to ensure that consumers who want raw milk can access it!  

HB 46, filed by Representative Flynn, would allow the sale of raw milk by licensed farmers at farmers’ markets, drop points, and through delivery.

Please help us pass HB 46 to protect both farmers and consumers!

 

TAKE ACTION 

The legislators need to hear from YOU! The chance of HB 46 passing this session depends heavily on the voice of Texas local foods consumers. It only takes a few minutes to contact your legislator, and it really does make a difference. Here are some helpful steps:

1. Call your State Representative.

If you don’t know who your Representative is, you can visit www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us or call the Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630. The Switchboard can connect you directly to your legislators’ offices if you wish, so it’s very quick!

Sample message:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Representative _____ to co-author HB 46, to legalize the sale of raw milk at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer options. Do you know where he/she stands on the bill?”
If the staffer says they don’t know the Representative’s position (which is a common response), say: “I would very much appreciate it if you could call me back after talking with the Representative. This issue is very important to me and my family.”

You can also offer to send them materials about the bills via email. You can download our raw milk fact sheet at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/texas-hb-46-fact-sheet or email Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org, and we can follow up.
2. Then, call your State Senator and ask him or her to support HB 46 when it comes to the Texas Senate.

3.  Make plans to come to Austin on Tuesday, March 19, for our Local Foods Education Day.  In-person meetings are the best way to have an impact!  Details will be posted soon.

NOTE: Calling or emailing the Department of State Health Services does NOT help.  The legislators are the ones who have to change the law.  So focus your calls and emails on your elected officials!

 
More information on HB 46Facts About the Bill 

  • Would allow licensed farmers to sell raw milk at farmers markets and through delivery arrangements.
  • Makes no other change to the existing health and safety regulations for raw milk that have been successful in protecting the public’s health in Texas.
  • Sales will continue to be limited to direct-to-consumer transactions, as they are currently. The bill does not allow sales of raw milk in grocery stores.

Many advantages to HB 46… 

  • Addresses the consumer demand for high-quality raw milk by making it available at farmers markets and through home delivery.
  • Benefits rural economies because direct farm-to-consumer sales of raw milk can mean the difference between a net loss on the farm and a reasonable income for the farm family – which impacts the entire community.
  • Improves the safety of raw milk by allowing producers to transport it to consumers under safe conditions.
  • By allowing a producer to make a single trip to serve multiple customers, rather than having each customer drive to the farm, the bill reduces vehicle miles, thereby benefiting air quality, traffic congestion, and public safety.
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEEPlease make a special effort to call – and get your friends and family to call – if you live in one of these districts. Some of the zip codes are “split” between districts, and you can also check who your Representative is at www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 512-463-4630.

The Committee members are also listed on our website.

Garnet Coleman (Part of Houston – Zip Codes 77002, 003, 004, 006, 007, 010, 019, 021, 033, 048, 061, 075, 087, 089, 098)
Phone: 512-463-0524
Email: Garnet.Coleman@house.state.tx.us


Nicole Collier (Part of Tarrant County – Zip Codes 76012, 76102, 76103, 76104, 76105, 76107, 76110, 76111, 76112, 7615, 76119, 76120, 76133, 76134, 76140)
Phone: 512-463-0716
Email: Nicole.Collier@house.state.tx.us


Phillip Cortez (Part of Bexar County: 78002, 006, 023, 039, 052, 073, 211, 224, 226, 227, 236, 242, 245, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255)
Phone: 512-463-0269
Email: Phillip.Cortez@house.state.tx.us


Sarah Davis (Part of Houston – Zip Codes 77002, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 019, 024, 025, 027, 030, 046, 056, 057, 081, 096, 098, 401)
Phone: 512-463-0389
Email: Sarah.Davis@house.state.tx.us


Bobby Guerra (Part of Hidalgo County: 78501, 78503, 78504, 78539, 78572, 78573, 78574, 78577)
Phone: 512-463-0578
Email: Bobby.Guerra@house.state.tx.us


Susan King (Jones, Nolan, and Taylor Counties)
Phone: 512-463-0718
Email: Susan.King@house.state.tx.us


Lois Kolkhorst (Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Lavaca, and Washington Counties)
Phone: 512-463-0600
Email: Lois.Kolkhorst@house.state.tx.us
**If you are in Chairwoman Kolkhorst’s district, please be sure to say “thank you for sponsoring HB 910!”, while also asking for her support for the raw milk bill.


Jodie Laubenberg (Part of Collin County – Zip Codes 75002, 75048, 75069, 75074, 75087, 75094, 75098, 75166, 75173, 75189, 75407)
Phone: 512-463-0186
Email: Jodie.Laubenberg@house.state.tx.us
**Rep. Laubenberg is a joint author on the raw milk bill. If you are her constituent, please be sure to say “thank you for joint authoring the raw milk bill!”, while asking for her support on the cottage foods bill.


Elliott Naishtat (Part of the City of Austin – Zip Codes 78701, 78703, 78704, 78705, 78712, 78731, 78735, 78745, 78746, 78751, 78752, 78756, 78757, 78758, 78759)
Phone: 512-463-0668
Email: Elliott.Naishtat@house.state.tx.us


J.D. Sheffield (Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba, and Somervell counties)
Phone: 512-463-0628
Email: J.D.Sheffield@house.state.tx.us


Bill Zedler (Part of Tarrant County: 76001, 76002, 76017, 76028, 76036, 76060, 76063, 76123, 76134, 76140)
Phone: 512-463-0374
Email: Bill.Zedler@house.state.tx.us

Thank you for speaking up for Texas farms and local foods!  There are many challenges ahead as we try to pass these bills, and your participation is vital. 

Working together, we can make our voices heard.Sincerely,
Judith McGeary
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
www.FarmAndRanchFreedom.org
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