Small farms rally to support laws for fewer state regulations

7:23 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Some farmers in Maine are asking the state for a lighter hand when it comes to regulation.

Many of those farmers went to the state house on Tuesday to support two bills the legislature is considering. One would lift state licensing and food inspection requirements for small farms. The other would allow farms to sell small amounts of raw milk without a state permit.

Farm owners say regulations from the Maine Department of Agriculture are putting them in a bind. Last week a court ordered Dan Brown to stop selling raw milk and other dairy products from his farm in Blue Hill. Brown is facing a lawsuit from the state agriculture department because he didn't have a license. He says now he's on the verge of bankruptcy.

"In the 6000 times that I've milked this cow that's in question we've never had a health concern with it," he said, addrssing the health concerns the department brought up in its suit.

"Everybody says that its basically self-selecting that if I don't do a good job with safety then I'm going to be out of business," said Jim Dill, who is the co-chair of the agriculture committee, "well you still do some damage to somebody before you're self selected out."

The agriculture committee is likely to vote on the bills by the end of next week.


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