Microfarmers of New Hampshire
In early 2012 legislation sponsored by Reps. Comtois, Groen, S. Palmer and Rep. Okerman was brought before the NH House committee on Environment and Agriculture on behalf of several small farmers seeking relief from onerous regulation of farm products. With the support and leadership of the Patriot Pastor - Garrett Lear, this small group of New Hampshire citizens and patriots reestablished the rights of consumers to make their own food choices.
That legislation, House Bill 1402 (HB1402), through the cooperative efforts of NH Health and Human Services and the newly organized Microfarmers of NH, resulted in meaningful changes to existing law allowing New Hampshire's largest proportion of farmers - those earning less than $100,000 per year - to meet customer demands for raw milk products.
The changes allowed for direct sales of raw milk products without a milk producer-distributor license for certain small scale dairy producer-distributors in addition to exempting certain homestead food operations and homestead food products from licensure by the department of health and human services.
The Department of Health and Human Services does not advocate or recommend the sale of raw milk. Raw milk, improperly pasteurized milk and raw milk fresh cheeses have been implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and E. coli 0157:H7 in recent years.
Sale of cheese, yogurt, butter or other dairy products made from raw or heat treated milk:
RSA184:30-a allows for “the sale, within the state, of cheese made from raw milk when such cheese has been aged a minimum of 60 days at a temperature above 35 degrees fahrenheit, and is clearly labeled as unpasteurized.” This matches the language in section 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 133, the federal cheese laws.
RSA184:30-a also states that “This section shall not prohibit the direct sale of yogurt made with raw milk by the producer in this state, provided that such yogurt is clearly labeled as having been made with raw milk.” This is contrary to federal requirements for yogurt and applies only to raw milk yogurt made within the state and sold directly to consumers within the state.
To read HB1402 in its entirety click here.
To visit the NH Department of Health & Human Services click here.
To view or search NH Statutes (RSA's) click here.
Thus, Microfarmers of New Hampshire was born as a group of local farmers determined to advance pro-farm legislation to assure local demand for healthy farm products will be met for the forseeable future. In order to achieve this goal the membership promotes their individual farms' products on these pages and refers customers to other member farms for products not personally produced. Through this process, we each have a stake in the quality of product and service provided by every member farm we associate with, which is why we are self policing of one another.