Double Your Donation and Get a Special Gift

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FARFA is working hard to protect our local farmers and food producers — please help us keep up this fight by donating during our holiday fundraising drive!

EOY-fundraising-goal-12-16-14If you join or donate by December 31, your donation and your membership dues will be doubled. Thanks to our generous donors — Hugh Fitzsimons; Pam Walker, author of Growing Good Things to Eat; and Texas Farmers Market (Cedar Park & Mueller) — donations and memberships will be matched up to $4,500!

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Tester-Hagan Sign On Letter 2014

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION OF THIS LETTER]

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
December 15, 2014

Re: Preventive Controls Rule: FDA-2011-N-0920
Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921

Dear FDA:

The undersigned organizations, farms, food businesses, and concerned individuals jointly submit these comments on the Tester-Hagan provisions, also referred to as the qualified exemptions, in the proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

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2014 Austin City Council and Mayoral Candidates: Runoffs

Several of the seats on the new Austin City Council will be be determined in a run-off election on December 16. Early voting is underway through this Friday, December 12. You can find early voting locations at www.traviscountyclerk.org/eclerk/Content.do?code=E.47

To find out more about the candidates and districts, visit www.austinchronicle.com/elections

During the general election, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance sent a questionnaire to all of the candidates for whom we could find email addresses. We provided a brief background on some key issues, and asked five questions.

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What Does the Right to Farm Mean to You?

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The Texas Legislature will soon consider a bill addressing local regulation of farming operations. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance wants to hear from you in order to help shape our position on this issue.

“Right to farm” laws affect not only what farmers can do on their own property, but what rights their neighbors (both farmers and nonfarmers) and community have.  Read more to learn about the history and potential future expansion of the Right to Farm statute, as well as how you can provide your feedback via a short survey.

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Action Alert: Keep Small Farmers and Food Producers in Business

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Take Action on FDA’s 2014 Proposed Food Safety Regulations!

The FDA’s re-proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules will have a disastrous impact on small, sustainable farms and food businesses if they are approved as written. Many producers will have to raise prices, or could be driven out of business, reducing consumer access to local, healthy foods.

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Action Alert: GMO Labeling Needs Your Help on Capitol Hill

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Do you want to be kept in the dark about what you’re eating? Tell Congress to protect your right to know if your food contains GMOs!

While grassroots efforts to require labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs) are gaining momentum, Big Food and the biotech companies like Monsanto are trying to block your right to know what’s in your food.

These companies are backing a federal bill, HR 4432, that would:

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Action Alert (Texas): Support Home Food Producers

Texas Home Processors Bill | Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Now that we’re in the end-of-year holiday season, food becomes central to our gatherings with friends and family. In addition to spending time in the kitchen, many people will also be seeking out locally produced foods such as bread rolls, pies, cranberry sauce, and canned vegetables to go along with their festive meals.

Some of these foods are now available from local individuals making them in their home kitchens, thanks to our success in passing the Texas Cottage Foods Law in 2011 and 2013. And Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) is now working on a Home Processors Bill that would expand the types of foods that could be made in home kitchens and where they can be sold.

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Texas Legislative Agenda 2015

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The Texas legislative session is approaching fast! Although the Legislature won’t convene until January 2015, bills will start being filed in mid-November after the elections. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has an ambitious agenda again this year. Since bills often take more than one session to pass, we will continue to fight for important bills from the last round:

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Don’t Let Big Money Sneak the Trans-Pacific Partnership Through

trans pacific partnership

Tell Congress to say NO to Fast Track on trade deals.

We need your help to stop the latest push for “Fast Track” legislation. This type of legislation would enable corporate power grabs – like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement – to be rushed through Congress without the normal procedures for amendments and debate.

President Obama and other heads of state are meeting in Asia this month in an attempt to push forward the TPP negotiations. Literally millions of people throughout the world have complained about the extreme secrecy surrounding the ongoing TPP negotiations.

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Action Alert: Protect Small Farmers and Food Producers from FSMA Regulations

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Updated November 5, 2014.

We fought hard for the Tester-Hagan amendment to exempt small-scale, direct-marketing farms and artisan food producers from the most burdensome aspects of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This exemption is essential to the continued vitality of the local foods movement.

Now the FDA is proposing rules that would make it very easy for the agency to force even small-scale farmers to comply with the onerous FSMA regulations, and all but impossible for these vulnerable farmers to protect themselves.

Consequences of the Proposed Rules

Under the proposed rules, if the FDA decides to revoke the Tester-Hagan exemption and force a small-scale, direct-marketing farmer or artisan food producer to comply with the new federal requirements:

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