Food Freedom Act amendments clear two more legislative hurdles

A bill proposing several amendments to Wyoming’s Food Freedom Act passed its initial committee vote in the Wyoming Legislature this week and was approved on first reading in the Senate.

Wyoming Sen. Tim Salazar, R-Riverton, presented Senate File 102 to the Senate Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee on Thursday, explaining that the legislation would “clear up … some ambiguities” in the Food Freedom Act and “continue to allow local producers to (do) what they have been doing.”

“(This bill) clearly identifies that dairy products and eggs can be sold under the Act,” Salazar said in a press release. “(It) will give greater freedom for local producers to sell their products to the public and provide clarity for the Department of Agriculture in its oversight.”

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During the committee meeting, Salazar said he had been contacted by several local producers who told them they were having a “hard time” recently “continuing with what they had been doing in the past” due to some “confusion” regarding the law.

“What this bill does is simply clarify so everyone’s on the same sheet of music – both for the local producers and agencies,” Salazar said. “I think both the local producers and the government are going to appreciate (that).”

Later in the meeting, Wyoming Rep. Pepper Ottman, R-Riverton, who co-sponsored the bill along with Wyoming Rep. Sarah Penn, R-Lander, and others, said the issues arose in part due to the success of the original Food Freedom Act, which resulted in the growth of farmers markets and other local food exchange programs in Fremont County.

Local producers “upped their production” in response, Ottman said, and eventually they found that they needed to be able to sell their goods for “more than three hours on a Wednesday or a Saturday.”

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“So they developed a store,” she said. “It’s a community thing, (and it’s) going very well.”

Wyoming Department of Agriculture director Doug Miyamoto said SF 102 would be helpful for his agency, and he suggested two amendments to the legislation that Salazar agreed would “strengthen” the bill.

Both amendments were later adopted.

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SF 102 will come up two more times in the Senate before heading to the Wyoming House of Representatives for further consideration.

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