I've been hearing rumblings about the the potential onerous impact of the Federal Food Safety Modernization Act on small farms for awhile now. The upshot is that it would impose regulatory requirements that would be untenable for small direct to consumer farmers to handle. It could be a huge setback for the growing movement of direct to consumer sales at Farmers' Markets. One farmer I talked to said that if this legislation passes as it's currently written he will retire.
There is currently an amendment from Montana Senator Jon Tester that would exempt farms who sell direct to consumers. Ellen Gray, Executive Director of WA Sustainable Food and Farming Network sent the following information for people in Washington who want to advocate for small farms;
PLEASE CALL SENATOR MURRAY Toll Free: 1- 866-481-9186 Very quick...just tell the person answering the phone that you a constituent and you want her to support Tester's Amendment. Her office knows about the issue. They just need to hear from more consituents!
PLEASE CALL SENATOR CANTWELL Toll Free 1-888-648-7328 again, you can just leave a message..very quick..
ASK THEM TO SUPPORT SENATOR JON TESTER's AMENDMENT TO S.510, The Food Safety Modernization Act. The TESTER amendment exempts farms that sell directly to the consumer. Without this amendment the federal legislation will have a huge negative impact on local small farms that sell at farmers markets, to Food Co-ops, CSA customers and local processing facilities! PLEASE MAKE THE CALL NOW because our friends in Washington DC think the bill could be voted on the Senate floor tomorrow or friday. See below for more info.
If you're not in Washington go here for the contact information for your Senators.