Thursday, September 16, 2010

Food Safety Legislation to be Voted on



The Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) could reach the Senate floor as early as tomorrow. NSAC has been able to win several improvements to the bill but more changes are needed to avoid serious harm to family farm value-added processing and the emergence of local and regional food systems.

S.510 would considerably ramp up FDA regulation on farms that even minimally process their crops and sell them to restaurants, food coops, groceries, schools and wholesalers. An amendment sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would exempt small farm and small food processing facilities as well as small and mid-sized farmers who primarily direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants within their region.

Please call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tester Amendment.

It's easy to call:

  • Go to 's Congressional Directory and type in your zip code.
  • Click on your Senator's name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator's office: 202-224-3121.
  • Once connected ask to speak to the legislative staff person responsible for agriculture. If they are unavailable leave a voice mail message. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

The message is simple.

"I am a constituent of Senator___________ and I am calling to ask him/her to support the Tester Amendment and to include the Tester language in the Manager's Amendment to the food safety bill.

The Tester Amendment will exempt small farm and food facilities and farmers who direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants. We need a food safety bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors without erecting new barriers to family farms and the growing healthy food movement. Our continuing economic recovery demands that we preserve these market opportunities for small and mid-sized family farms. "

Report your Call:

Click here and tell us how your call went.

Learn More:

Most sustainable agriculture and family farm groups think the Senate bill with changes won by NSAC is a very significant improvement over the companion bill passed by the House of Representatives (HR 2749) last year. The changes listed below will be included in the bill that goes to the Senate floor for a vote. We can't support the Senate bill, however, unless the Tester amendment is also adopted. We strongly oppose the companion House measure, and stand ready to defend the "good amendments" to the Senate bill when it goes to conference with the House
later this year.

The best way to ensure that the Tester provision is included with the final bill that emerges from conference is for it to be included in the Manager's Amendment as it goes to the floor of the Senate. The Manager's Amendment includes all of the language that has the support of the three Democrats and three Republicans who are sponsoring the bill. Please call your Senator and request that the Tester language be added to the Manager's Amendment.

The Manager's Amendment to S.510 already includes the following important improvements to the bill that have been backed by NSAC:

  • Sanders (D-VT) amendment (requiring FDA to write regulations to determine low risk on-farm processing activities that can be exempt from regulatory requirement);
  • Bennet (D-CO) amendment (to reduce unnecessary paperwork and streamline requirements for farmers and small processors);
  • Stabenow (D-MI) amendment (to create a USDA-delivered competitive grants program for farmer food safety training);
  • Boxer (D-CA) amendment (to eliminate anti-wildlife habitat language from the bill); and
  • Brown (D-OH) amendment (on traceability requirements, including exemptions for direct marketing and farm identity-preserved marketing).

For more information on the Senate Food Safety bill, read our latest information alert here

Read our Food Safety Policy Brief here.

Re-posted from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Friday, September 10, 2010

New ATTRA resource maps small scale poultry processing availability by state

Interest in specialty poultry production is growing in the U.S. Many small farmers raise poultry with outdoor access, or they may raise a heritage American breed. Many consumers would like to buy poultry meat and products from these specialty birds. However, there are few processing facilities that provide poultry processing services for independent producers. Very large poultry processing plants are usually only set up to process their own birds. Therefore, some small meat processing plants have added poultry processing to their services, or entrepreneurs have built dedicated poultry processing plants. Since it is expensive to build a processing plant, some producers share resources and put together mobile processing units. Some of these plants are USDA-inspected with inspectors are present during processing. If your birds are processed at a USDA plant, you have various options for selling the carcasses or products. For example, you can sell to the public, stores, restaurants, across state lines, etc. Some of these plants are state-licensed plants where inspectors may not be present during processing, and you may have fewer options for selling the carcasses. Some plants offer special types of processing such as cut-up or further processing (sausage, jerky), air chilled, kosher, halal, or certified organic.

This list is a joint effort of several nonprofit organizations that assist small poultry growers, including Heifer International and American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. This list was originally started by American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Please help us maintain and expand this list. Use our Poultry Processor Listing Form to submit or update your entry, or if you are aware of a plant that may want to be listed, please send us an email or call and we will contact the plant. Go to to view this resource.

Related ATTRA publications: Small-Scale Poultry Processing, Growing Your Range Poultry Business: An Entrepreneur's Toolbox

Contact Terrell Spencer, 800-346-9140 for more information.

United Plant Savers to Host Conference in Meigs County

United Plant Savers Planting the Future Conference:
“A Conference on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Native Medicinal Plants”

When: Saturday October 2nd from 9 to 5

Where: UpS Goldenseal Sanctuary, Rutland, Ohio

What: Our conference focuses on the cultivation, conservation and sustainable use of our native medicinal plants. There will be hands-on classes with herb growers on cultivation of herbs, many herb walks, classes on herbal medicines and more! United Plant Savers’ Goldenseal Sanctuary is incredibly abundant in native medicinal plants, and is maintained as a botanical wildlife preserve, educational and research center and sustainable land-use model.

Who: Teachers include Robert Eidus of NC, Glinda Watts of TN, Camille Freeman of MD, Paul Strauss, Chip Carroll, Rebecca Wood, Cindy Parker, George Vaughn, Hank Huggins and Maureen Burns-Hooker of OH and Betzy Bancroft of VT.

Sponsors include Mountain Rose Herbs, Herbal Sage Tea Co., Twelve Corners Herbs and
Mushroom Harvest

Registration information is available on
Registration cost is $40 for current UpS members and $50 for non-members. Student discount and work study are available.

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