Connecticut farmers celebrating Farms, Food and Jobs bill

Jul 14th, 2010 | By | Category: Business, Farm, Legislation, Preservation

New Law Clears Hurdles for Farm-to-Consumer Sales and Helps Create Jobs

Connecticut consumers will benefit from a new bill signed into law by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. House Bill 5419, also known as the “Farms, Foods and Jobs” bill will significantly expand the availability of locally grown foods at farmer’s markets and farm stands, allowing direct-to-consumer sales of poultry and acidified foods such as pickles and relish from farms to consumers, according to a release from the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association.

“With the growing demand for locally-grown foods, this new law will allow farmers to access a greater portion of the market and consumers will benefit,” says Don Tuller, President of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association which worked hard this past legislative session to get the bill passed. “This new law will stoke the economic engine of Connecticut agriculture and will help local farms, promote local food, and create local jobs.”

Among the measures laid out in the new law:

  • Acidified Foods: Farmers will now be able to sell acidified vegetables and fruits direct from the farm. This means items with a pH of 4.6 or less such as pickles, relishes and salsa, can be sold direct to consumers by farmers that complete a food safety course and follow the other safety provisions of the law. Items such as meat, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry and shellfish are specifically excluded.
  • Poultry : Farms that raise poultry will be allowed process and sell dressed poultry or poultry products directly to consumers, restaurants, and hotels. The bill grants the State Department of Agriculture the authority to inspect poultry farms and processing to ensure safety. The bill’s provisions are limited to farms that produce no more than 5,000 turkeys and 20,000 other poultry annually.
  • Farmers’ Markets: Farmers’ Markets have become extremely popular in Connecticut. Previously they could only be open on a regular, scheduled basis. The new law will now allow such markets to be set up as single-day events or as part of happenings such as county or town fairs.
  • Milk Promotion: The new law allows the state’s Milk Promotion Board to access part of the federal milk promotion funds for local use, educating state residents about the benefits of milk and funding promotion and research.

“By expanding the opportunities for farmers to sell their products, everyone benefits,” adds Tuller. “Connecticut agriculture is growing as consumers demand more Connecticut grown products. This new law is a welcome opportunity to allow farmers to produce and sell their products. When they sell more products, we’ll see more jobs created and more revenue come into the state’s economy. This bill also helps consumers who want to support local farming by giving them more chances to do so.”

“Modifying the law to allow greater access to Connecticut Grown foods was a high priority for the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association,” said Association executive director Steven Reviczky. “The unanimous passage of this legislation by the members of the General Assembly and the signature of Governor Rell demonstrates their strong commitment to Connecticut agriculture,” he added.

Since 1919, The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has provided a strong, clear voice in state agricultural issues. As a non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm families, the Connecticut Farm Bureau is united to find solutions for concerns facing production agriculture in our counties, state and nation. Volunteer leaders and staff work closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and elected officials on issues ranging from economic viability, property rights, taxation, land use planning to labor laws and farmland preservation. For more information visit www.cfba.org.

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