Improve access to locally produced eggs!

Published April 1, 2021

 

Small farmers can sell “ungraded” eggs at farmers’ markets all across Texas, but regulations prevent restaurants and retailers from buying those exact same eggs to serve or sell to their customers.

“Grading” eggs involves weighing each egg, looking at them with a special light for visible defects, getting licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture, and paying fees. Grading is entirely a marketing issue and provides no health or food safety benefits – but it takes time and money that small farmers don’t have.

HB 2028 and SB 336 would allow farmers to sell eggs clearly labeled as “ungraded” to restaurants and retailers who in turn sell directly to consumers. The eggs would be labeled to ensure that the consumers know who produced the eggs. This would open new opportunities for small farmers and make it easier for restaurants and retailers to source and provide consumers with locally raised eggs.

But the big poultry industry doesn’t want small farmers to have more opportunities, and they are lobbying hard against this common-sense bill. With less than 7 weeks left in the Texas legislative session, we need your help!


TAKE ACTION

 

Getting more co-sponsors is one of the best ways to create pressure to get a committee hearing.

  1. Call your State Representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor HB 2028.
  2. Call your State Senator and urge him or her to co-sponsor SB 336.

Each call takes about a minute, and it truly makes a difference. 

Find out who represents you. And below is a list of the committee members – if one of them is your Representative or Senator, please be sure to encourage all your friends and family in the district to call also!

Sample call script:

“Hi, my name is ___, and I live in [town]. I am calling to urge my Representative to co-sponsor HB 2028 [or to urge my Senator to co-sponsor SB 336].

I am a [small farmer, a consumer who buys from local farms, … however you want to describe yourself]. 

It doesn’t make sense that farmers can sell eggs from their own flocks without grading at any farmers’ market in the state, but a small restaurant or grocer is unable to buy those exact same eggs to sell to their customers. Not only is there ever-increasing demand for local food, but the recent supply chain disruptions that we saw due to COVID and to the 2021 winter storms have demonstrated that the conventional food supply chains are fragile. We need to be supporting small farmers and local food distribution not only to help the farmers, but to build a more resilient and safe food system!

Grading eggs is a marketing issue, not a food safety one. Let the consumer decide if they want to buy ungraded eggs at their local grocer.

I ask that my Representative [or Senator] sign on to the bill and do everything they can to help it move forward this session.”

 

If you have time, ask for the email address for the staffer who is handling agriculture bills, and follow up with an email to them after your call. Politely let them know how important protecting small farms is to you! They are working very long hours right now, so keep your call and email short and to the point.

If your State Representative or Senator is on the House Agriculture Committee or Senate Health & Human Services Committee (see the list below), it’s even more important that they hear from you and from others in your district!

If you want to learn more about the bill, read FARFA’s fact sheet here

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Legislators want to hear from the people they represent … and when committee members hear from their constituents, it can have a major impact! If you live in any of the districts below, it is vital that you call your legislator and urge them to support HB 2028 / SB 336 and help it move through their committee – and then share this information with your friends and family who also live in the district and urge them to call as well!

The list below includes the areas the legislators represent. You can also look up who represents you.

 

House Agriculture Committee

Chair: DeWayne Burns
Represents: Bosque, Johnson counties
DeWayne.Burns@house.texas.gov
512-463-0538

Vice Chair: Charles “Doc” Anderson
Represents: Part of McLennan County
Charles.Anderson@house.texas.gov
512-463-0135

Ernest Bailes
Represents: Liberty, Walker, San Jacinto counties
Ernest.Bailes@house.texas.gov
512-463-0570

Sheryl Cole
Represents: Part of Travis County
Sheryl.Cole@house.texas.gov
512-463-0506

John Cyrier
Represents: Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes, and Lee counties
John.Cyrier@house.texas.gov
512-463-0682

Ryan Guillen
Represents: Atascosa, Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, Starr, and Willacy counties
Ryan.Guillen@house.texas.gov
512-463-0416

Abel Herrero
Represents: Parts of Nueces County
Abel.Herrero@house.texas.gov
512-463-0461

Jon Rosenthal
Represents: Part of Harris County
Jon.Rosenthal@house.texas.gov
512-463-0722

Steve Toth
Represents: Part of Montgomery County
Steve.Toth@house.texas.gov
512-463-0797

 

Senate Health & Human Services Committee

Chair: Lois Kolkhorst
Represents: Aransas, Austin, Burleson, Calhoun, Colorado, De Witt, Fayette, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Refugio, Victoria, Waller, Washington, and Wharton counties, and parts of Fort Bend, Harris, and Nueces counties.
Lois Kolkhorst@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0118

Vice Chair: Charles Perry
Represents: From Plainview down to San Angelo and many counties to the east and west – see the district map here
Charles.Perry@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0128

César Blanco
Represents: Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties
Cesar.Blanco@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0129

Dawn Buckingham
Represents: Bandera, Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills, and San Saba counties, and parts of Taylor and Travis counties
Dawn.Buckingham@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0124

Donna Campbell
Represents: Comal and Kendall counties, and parts of Bexar, Guadalupe, Hays, and Travis counties
Donna.Campbell@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0125

Bob Hall
Represents: Delta, Fannin, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Rains, Rockwall, and Van Zandt counties, and part of Dallas County
Bob.Hall@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0102

Borris Miles
Represents: Part of Fort Bend and Harris counties
Borris.Miles@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0113

Beverly Powell
Represents: Part of Tarrant County
Beverly.Powell@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0110

Kel Seliger
Represents: Armstrong, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, and Wheeler counties
Kel.Seliger@senate.texas.gov
512-463-0131