Ag Update on Texas Legislative Session.

this information has been compiled by FARFA (Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance). Visit their website for more details:

Today was the deadline for filing bills in the Texas Legislature, and several more bills to support local foods, from farmers markets to urban farms, have been filed!  There are a lot of hurdles before any of these bills can become law, and we will need your help to move these bills forward in the coming weeks.

Raw Milk: HB 75 by Representative Flynn would legalize the sale of raw milk at farmers markets, farm stands, and through delivery.  It does not allow raw milk to be sold in the grcoery stores.  The bill will not go to hearing next week.  Please stay tuned, we hope there will be a hearing on the 23rd.
Full text:  HB 75

Farmers Markets: HB 3387 by Representative Rodriguez would address many problems that farmers have faced at markets across the state. The bill establishes reasonable standards for providing food samples, specifies that hot food can be prepared on-site under a temporary food establishment permit, prohibits state and local agencies from specifying the specific method by which farmers maintain safe temperatures, and provides that educational cooking demonstrations are not subject to fees.
Full text: HB 3387

Urban Farms: HB 2994, 2995, 2996, 2997, and 2998, all by Representative Miles, cover multiple isues facing urban farms, from fees for wastewater to research into the specific tools needed to for successful urban farming.

Local Foods Omnibus Bill: HB 2084, by Representative Kolhorst, is a multi-faceted bill that would allow people to make low-risk foods in the their home kitchens for direct sale to consumers (similar to HB 1139, but with higher gross sales and no permit requirement); lower fees on small-scale cheesemakers; help farmers markets accept food stamp benefits; and develop recommendations about how urban farms, community gardens, and sustainable farmers can get fair property tax treatment.
Full text:  HB 2084

Cottage Foods: HB 1139 by Representative Rodriguez would provide an exemption from commercial kitchen requirements for people who make low-risk foods and sell them directly to consumers. Under the bill, individuals could produce baked goods, jams and jellies, candies, dried herbs, and other low-risk foods in their home kitchens after completing a food safety education program, and sell up to $150,000 annually directly to consumers.
Full text:  HB 1139

Property tax help for new farmers: Under current law, property must be used primarily for agricultural use for 5 years before it can qualify for property taxes based on its agricultural value.  This poses significant problems for new farmers.  HB 1600 by Representative Rodriguez would reduce the requirement to 3 years.  As filed, the bill would require landowners to file a new application each year, but we have been told that provision will be deleted and support it with that change.
Full text: HB 1600


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