Action Alert (Texas): Raw Milk Drop Point Busted – Help Us Change the Law!

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.

Farm Hand Preparing for Milking

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 www.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!

 

See the actual bill text and more information on HB 46 on the Texas Legislature website.

 

FACTS 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 COMMITTEE

  • 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 – Zip Codes 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 (Please note we previously had an error in Rep. Cortez’ email address; we have now corrected it.)
  • 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 – Zip Codes 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 – Zip Codes 76001, 76002, 76017, 76028, 76036, 76060, 76063, 76123, 76134, 76140) Phone: 512-463-0374 | Email: Bill.Zedler@house.state.tx.us