Public Hearing on Two Local Food Bills

HB 46 and HB 910 would increase support to family farms

Public Hearing on Two Local Food Bills
Photo Courtesy of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Over 100 Texans showed up in support of HB 46 at the Capitol on Wednesday. Introduced to the Texas House Public Health Committee and sponsored by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton), HB 46 would allow licensed dairy farmers to sell raw milk at farmers’ markets, make home deliveries, and allow for other delivery arrangements with their customers.

This is critical: For many raw milk advocates, the availability of raw milk has as much to do with consumption as it does liberty. The current system allows for sales of raw milk to occur on the producer’s farm only. HB 46 would increase accessibility as getting to a dairy isn’t always convenient or possible. As the number of family-owned dairy farms has decreased, raw milk has allowed farmers to remain financially and environmentally sustainable. As raw milk dairy farmer Bob Stryk, of Stryk Jersey Farm in Schulenberg, Texas, asserted: “What is the difference economically between conventional milk and raw for retail milk? It is the life or death of a dairy farm.”

HB 910 also went before the committee on Wednesday. Sponsored by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and co-authored by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), chair of the bipartisan Farm-to-Table Food Caucus, HB 910 would limit the health permit fees for farmers and farmers’ market vendors at $50 per year per county or city. The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, the Sustainable Food Center, and two farmers' market organizers testified to the committee in favor of the bill. In addition, over 80 Texans registered their support of the bill. According to Andrew Smiley, deputy director of the Sustainable Food Center, “House Bill 910 is about economic development – supporting financially viable markets for family farmers. And it’s about access to healthy food – keeping producers’ costs down so prices of healthy food remain accessible for consumers.”

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Food Legislation before the Texas House of Representatives
Taste Test
Taste Test
Farmers market food sampling bill passes Texas House

Anna Toon, May 13, 2013

Straight From the Source
Straight From the Source
Texas Medical Association challenges HB 46

Anna Toon, April 10, 2013

More by Anna Toon
To Have and to Eat
To Have and to Eat
A Chronicle food writer says goodbye to Austin

Dec. 31, 2015

Fanning the Flames
Fanning the Flames
Cultivo Salsa heats up

Aug. 21, 2015


Food Legislation before the Texas House of Representatives, Food Legislation, Rep. Dan Flynn (R- Canton), Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R. Brenham), HB 46, HB 910, raw milk, farmers' market fees, Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, FARFA, TOFGA, Texas Organic Farmers and Garden

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle