Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hello blogger friends!

Today is MICFA day in Annapolis!

MICFA = maryland independent farm to consumer association - promotes small family farms and consumers access to their high-quality products.

MICFA = the alternative to factory farms.

MICFA promotes local, sustainable agriculture.

Each year we go to Annapolis to showcase contraband high-quality food products produced by small family farms in Maryland, that current law prevents or severely restricts us from selling to our customers.

These include things like raw-milk products (artisanale cheeses and milk), on farm processed chicken and rabbit, and locally produced chicken eggs. Current laws give a producer in China less regulation and better access to Maryland consumers than Maryland farmers have!

Here are our talking points:

Farm‐to‐Market Poultry and Rabbit:
A Commonsense Reform for Maryland Farmers and Consumers
MD is Keeping Farmers and Consumers Apart

o Existing federal law and regulations allow farmers to sell up to 20,000 farm‐processed chickens, turkeys and rabbits directly to consumers in their home state each year.

o But Maryland imposes an unnecessary restriction requiring these products to be sold on the farm – separating customers who want the meat from MD farmers who sell it.

o Independent poultry farmers are disappearing: in 1950, 95% of US poultry farmers were independent; by 1994, 99% of all poultry was produced under contract or at corporate‐owned facilities.

Products to Market = Income to MD Farmers

o More than 250 Maryland farms are ready to sell farm‐processed poultry and rabbit, providing millions in much‐needed revenue to family farms.

o Farmers’ market attendance in the region is skyrocketing – there are over 100 farmers’ markets in Maryland alone.

o Maryland’s 2008 Egg Law establishing farmers’ market egg sales as an extension of on‐farm sales is a win‐win worth repeating for poultry and rabbit.

A Simple Solution for Maryland’s Economy, Communities and Environment

o The Legislature should let farmers access the USDA exemption for farm‐processed poultry and rabbits. This would not alter state health codes or inspection requirements that ensure healthy, safe products.

o Small poultry operations are cleaner: a typical large‐scale broiler factory produces 6.6 million pounds of waste annually and approximately 44 million tons of animal manure is generated each year in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Industrial poultry farming accounts for nearly 2/3 of this waste that pollutes the Bay.

o On‐farm processing is more humane because animals are not subjected to long‐distance hauling in tightly‐packed crates.

Let Maryland’s Family Farmers Bring Healthy, Natural Products to the Customers Who Want Them

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