The Policy "Beet"
See our most recent read about our most recent policy work and action alerts.
Alex Canepa, SFC Farmers' Market and Advocacy Manager
SFC’s agenda for the Texas Legislative session took its first steps last week when two of our top three priority bills were introduced in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. Austin’s own Eddie Rodriguez and Senator Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham) introduced legislation that seeks to expand Texas’ Cottage Food Law (House Bill 2108, Senate Bill 572).
Improvements include clarifying what constitutes a pickle (yes, we’re serious) as well as extending Cottage Food protections to fermented, and some canned foods. The House version of the bill also includes a provision—supported by SFC—that would allow farmers producing on a small scale to sell frozen fruits and vegetables directly to consumers.
Bills (Senate Bill 932, House Bill 2009) aimed at tackling the issue of burdensome permitting for small farmers and...more
Alex Canepa, Policy and Advocacy Manager
As the old adage goes, “everyone does better when everyone does better.” One of the ways that we can do better here in Texas is by ensuring that all of our neighbors can access and afford nourishing food. Here at SFC, we think that “everyone” also includes farmers.
SNAP incentive programs increase the purchasing power of SNAP recipients when they spend their SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits on Texas-grown produce. SNAP incentive programs offer a one to one match for every SNAP dollar spent at a participating market. This is a win/win/win: Low-income families eat more healthy food, area farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.
Last Tuesday, we hosted a gathering of more than 30 state and national leaders in the fields of health and food security to lay the foundation for coordinated approach to grow SNAP incentive programs in Texas. Representatives from the USDA, Fair Food Network, Texas Hunger Initiative, San Antonio Food Bank, American Heart Association, Texas Center for Local Food, Grow North...more
This is it. It’s make or break time for the 2018 Farm Bill. Only a few days remain for Congress to finish a new bill or pass a temporary extension of the old one. Either way, farmers and communities are counting on action. What’s at stake?
● Hands-on training and tools for beginning farmers and ranchers.
● Support for cutting-edge organic and sustainable research.
● New infrastructure – like ‘food hubs’ and innovative marketing tools – that helps farmers take advantage of ever-growing demand for local and regional food.
These are the programs in the bill that give farmers the tools to grow and succeed, and to harness economic opportunities across the nation.
There’s a problem, though. Nearly a dozen “tiny but mighty” farm bill programs will be left unable to operate if Congress doesn’t act fast: 140 million dollars for sustainable and organic agriculture, economic development, and beginning and underserved farmer support will literally just disappear. And that’s not all - just over a billion dollars in funding, largely for conservation and...more
Joy Casnovsky, Deputy Director
Pictured: Joy Casnovsky at Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands in Seattle, during the NSAC summer meeting.more
At this point in the session, any bill that has not at least gotten a committee hearing has no real chance of passing. Only one bill (HB 950/SB 330) that we support has gotten a hearing and we need help getting this bill to the finish line! For additional information about this bill, visit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.more
Texas Senate Bill 1172 would prevent cities and counties from regulating any seed “in any manner, including planting seed or cultivating plants grown from seed.” The language about “cultivating” means that it’s not just about the seeds themselves, but the things the farmers use to grow the plants – including pesticides and herbicides that can kill other crops, crash bee populations, and harm human health.
TAKE ACTION: Local elected representatives need to retain their ability to protect their communities!
Call or email your State Representative and Senator and urge them to OPPOSE SB 1172 & its companion bill, HB 2758.
You can find out who your State legislators are by going to...more
HB 231 / SB 700: Fair Property Taxes for Small Farmers by Representative Eddie Rodriguez & Senator Judith Zaffirini
- Currently, counties make it simple for people raising hay, livestock, or conventional row crops to get agricultural valuation which significantly lowers property taxes.
- However, they often make it difficult or impossible for people raising vegetables for farmers’ markets, pastured poultry, or using organic methods.
- Many small-scale or urban farmers are paying taxes based on the value of their land if it were to be developed.
- HB 231 and SB 700 clarify the tax code by specifying that fruit and vegetable production qualify as “agricultural uses” and directing the Comptroller to convene stakeholder groups to develop clear guidelines for ag valuation qualification.
- This bill could save small farmers thousands of dollars annually in property taxes.
- Last session, a very similar bill was passed...