Letter: Cottage foods law will help entrepreneurs, economy – Billings Gazette, May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015

Categories: Agriculture, Food, Legislature, News

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/cottage-foods-law-will-help-entrepreneurs-economy/article_e643471f-b92c-5498-a202-e5e01bc2b938.html

Thanks to Gov. Steve Bullock for signing the cottage food bill into law. Now local food businesses and agriculture producers can sell nonhazardous food products directly to consumers with streamlined rules and less expense.

Though Montana is an agricultural state, the vast majority of our raw products are processed outside of the state. This secondary, value-added local market is a multimillion dollar opportunity, and Montana has finally opened the door for our entrepreneurs to walk through.

Now, jam, jelly, pasta, granola, bread, herbs, desserts and many other products that are sold directly to consumers can be made in our own kitchens, without the expense or hassle of a commercial kitchen.

In Stillwater County, we have nearly 600 family farms that produce an abundance of raw wheat, beans, peas and alfalfa among other products. Imagine if we could process those products in the county and experience the economic returns locally! The cottage foods law is a gateway to those types of businesses.

In California, a similar cottage food law created more than 1,200 new businesses in the first year. Thanks to the hard work of the Montana Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Health and Human Services, along with Grow MT and the county sanitarians, Montanans will have this great opportunity to enjoy our own agricultural products right here at home.

Our economy will be better off for it, and consumers will have better products to choose from. Check out this bill at laws.leg.mt.gov under HB 478.

Lana Sangmeister
Nye

NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154
info@northernplains.org