Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-360

Title:

AN ACT AUTHORIZING HERD SHARES WITHIN THE PRODUCTION OF MILK AND RAW MILK PRODUCTS AND THE MANUFACTURE OF CHEESE FOR PERSONAL CONSUMPTION.

Vote Date:

3/25/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/20/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

REASONS FOR BILL:

To create an exception to the requirement that the production of milk and raw milk, and their products, and the manufacture of cheese be only for personal or family consumption in order to authorize herd shares involving up to five cattle or fifteen goats or sheep.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

The Department's opposition to this bill is based on public health risks associated with the consumption of unregulated raw milk as well as the ambiguous legal implications of animal ownership.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association.

The Bureau neither favors nor opposes herd shares, but does question whether the exemption should be extended to multiple parties who are subject to a shared animal ownership agreement. The bill should be amended to refer this matter to the Milk Regulation Board to analyze and make recommendations to the committee on the appropriateness of authorizing herd shares as proposed in this bill.

Mary Tracy, Goshen, CT.

The cost of following state regulations for the sale of milk is prohibitive to small farmers because of the substantial investment in equipment and infrastructure. Written herd share agreements are currently the practice in 8 states and, if allowed in Connecticut, would allow small farming operations the ability to share wholesome locally produced products in the community.

Steve Kleppin, Chairman, New Milford Farmland and Forest Preservation Committee.

The bill increases the opportunity for small business farmers to distribute their products and gives the consumers a level of certainty over how and where that product is being produced.

The Preservation Committee has been working to save the town's remaining farmland, well aware that it is equally important to save the farmers as well. One sure way to help farmers is to help them with their marketing and distribution.

Clint Thorn, Chairman of the Goshen Agriculture Council.

The importance of this bill should not be overlooked as locally grown and produced food products are becoming more valued. Passage of the bill, geared specifically to small farmers, will enhance the viability of Connecticut's agribusiness.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed.

Reported by: Madeline Grabinski

Date: March 27, 2015