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Jan172012

NH HB1650 'MADE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE' LAW WILL ENSURE CONSUMER FOOD CHOICES

HB 1650 will help protect New Hampshire growers from overreaching federal regulations

CONCORD, N.H.—A bill working its way through the New Hampshire House of Representatives would jumpstart local food production and stimulate small business growth across the state.

This bill, HB 1650-FN, exempts food grown or produced and then sold within the state from federal regulations by establishing a “Made in New Hampshire” brand under state regulations. The brand could be leveraged by small, local businesses to increase sales and promote locally grown products.

“Our state depends on the economic vitality of small businesses, and a one-size-fits-all approach forced on the state from Washington would put New Hampshire out of the farm business,” said Rep. Josh Davenport, R-Newmarket, the prime sponsor of the bill. “The state of New Hampshire is perfectly capable of ensuring the safety of its own small farms and food production businesses. Common sense takes care of problems much more efficiently and effectively than central planning in Washington.”

Ever since its earliest days, New Hampshire has produced agricultural products, such as fresh corn, apples and tomatoes. Some farmers even raise cattle, pigs and chickens. Even as major production moved to wider spaces out west, the state has still held on to its agrarian base. New Hampshire citizens know what they're getting through their local farms and they know their local farmers will always be there for them.

Just last year, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act used the rhetoric of food safety to require growers with more than $500,000 in revenue to register their food businesses or face 10 years in prison. The protectionist law, a gift to large industrial farmers, allows the Food and Drug Administration to force recalls of food and shut down food production facilities. The law also regulates seed cleaning, which may increase the prevalence of genetically modified seeds. If heirloom seeds consequently become more rare, farmers may have to license more genetically modified seeds each year at major expense, and farming already has a small profit margin.

“This federal law is blatant corporate welfare that could damage New Hampshire's ability to produce its own food supply for generations,” Davenport said. "While the federal law appears to have exceptions for small farmers, some of the nuances of the law, such as the requirement for seed-cleaning inspections, will eventually allow powerful corporate farms to weed out their smaller competitors, leaving the population vulnerable and dependent on genetically modified, commercially produced food shipped in from somewhere else.”

HB 1650, the bill introduced by Rep. Davenport to address problems with the federal law, would allow farmers in New Hampshire who sell only to in-state consumers to use a “Made in New Hampshire” label, which would let buyers know that the product falls only under New Hampshire regulations. Local regulators would not be allowed to enact stricter regulations than the state, ensuring that in-state food businesses are lean, productive and safe.

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About Rep. Joshua Davenport


State Rep. Joshua Davenport
, a Republican from Newmarket, is focused on legislation to advance the ideals of lower taxes and regulation and limited constitutional government.

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