Lawmakers work to empower local farmers
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From farm to fork—that’s the idea behind several bills introduced this legislative session to help empower local farmers.
Farmers like Gary Rowland, who has been selling produce grown on his Burnet farm since 1990. He said his job is easier than ever thanks to the ‘eat local’ trend, but unloading his produce isn't as simple as getting it off the truck.
One proposed bill would address Rowland’s issue with the industry’s red tape. The legislation would limit the number and the cost of permits farmers must get while selling their food from city to city.
"I think that there are some issues that need to be cleaned up,” Rowland said. “I think that there are some things that we are currently dealing with that are above and beyond the call."
Texas Rep. Eddie Rodriguez is trying to help out farmers like Rowland with his proposed House Bill 970. The bill aims to expand current legislation to make it easier to sell a wider variety of food prepared in residences, meaning cakes and other items could be sold at farmers markets.
"We just have to get with the times and really allow them to be able to succeed and not have a lot of these barriers," Rep. Rodriguez said.
Until the 2011 legislative session, it was illegal to sell food produced in a residential kitchen. Among the proposed changes this year, a bill introduced would allow for the sale of raw milk at farmers markets.