Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

03/30/2021 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:02:39 AM Start
08:03:43 AM HB22
09:35:58 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
           HB 22-SHARED ANIMAL AND RAW MILK/PRODUCTS                                                                        
8:03:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  22,  "An  Act  relating  to  shared  animal                                                               
ownership; and relating  to the sharing and sale of  raw milk and                                                               
raw milk products."                                                                                                             
8:04:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GERAN TARR,  Alaska State  Legislature, as  prime                                                               
sponsor, presented  HB 22 with a  shared PowerPoint presentation.                                                               
She showed  slide 2, which illustrates  Alaska's food insecurity,                                                               
with 95 percent of food imported  from outside the state.  Alaska                                                               
can produce more; 67 percent  of farmers surveyed by the Division                                                               
of  Agriculture  would  produce  more if  they  had  more  market                                                               
options.  The  slide mentions a $5  challenge, and Representative                                                               
Tarr  said upcoming  speakers would  address that  topic.   While                                                               
showing slide 3,  she noted that at the time  of statehood, 1959,                                                               
Alaska had  525 farms and was  producing about 49 percent  of its                                                               
agricultural product.   She said  the state has a  strong history                                                               
of dairy farming, dating back  to about 1867, for example, Juneau                                                               
has a  road named "Old  Dairy [Road]"  where dairy farms  used to                                                               
exist.  Currently there are only  two dairy farms in Alaska.  She                                                               
explained  that dairy  operations,  and farming  in general,  are                                                               
intensive in  terms of the capital  required for a startup.   The                                                               
proposed legislation seeks to allow  dairy farmers to start small                                                               
and, if  they choose, to increase  in size up to  becoming a full                                                               
grade A dairy.                                                                                                                  
8:07:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR turned  to slides 5-7 to  illustrate that the                                                               
herd  share  program   addressed  under  HB  22   is  allowed  by                                                               
Regulation   18   AAC   32.010   and   requires   a   contractual                                                               
relationship.    Each  individual that  participates  becomes  an                                                               
owner of  one of  the animals,  which allows  them access  to the                                                               
fluid milk product.   The proposed regulation would  put the herd                                                               
share program into statute, which  gives it a permanency which is                                                               
important  to  those  considering  investment.   She  noted  that                                                               
currently  a  dairy is  allowed  to  share  only the  fluid  milk                                                               
product, and some  people are not interested in  that product but                                                               
would be interested  in ice cream or butter or  yogurt or cheese.                                                               
Further,  she pointed  out that  sometimes  animals produce  more                                                               
fluid milk  than customers need;  the proposed  legislation would                                                               
allow the  dairies to  make other products  with the  excess, all                                                               
through  the herd  share program.   She  noted that  a copy  of a                                                               
contractual agreement was available  in the committee packet, and                                                               
she indicated that it involves "informed consumer choice."                                                                      
8:09:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR,  in response  to Co-Chair  Hannan, explained                                                               
that "grade A  dairy" is a U.S. Department  of Agriculture (USDA)                                                               
certification  required  for  sale  of milk  products  in  retail                                                               
outlets.   She  remarked that  the herd  share program  is geared                                                               
toward  a  smaller  operation.     In  response  to  a  follow-up                                                               
question,  she said  she is  not aware  of any  other operational                                                               
dairies beside the two listed on  slide 4:  The Havemeister Dairy                                                               
in Palmer and  the Baptist Mission Heritage Farm in  Kodiak.  She                                                               
added, "There  are a couple  others that  are trying to  scale up                                                               
and become operational."                                                                                                        
8:11:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR, in  response  to a  question from  Co-Chair                                                               
Schrage, said  she does not know  the exact number of  herd share                                                               
participants but  there are  a number of  operations.   She noted                                                               
dozens   of  letters   of  support   have  been   submitted  from                                                               
participants throughout the state.                                                                                              
8:13:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TARR,   in   response   to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative  McCabe regarding  the history  of pasteurization,                                                               
explained that  people used to  live close to their  milk source,                                                               
but  when  farming became  rural,  milk  had to  be  transported.                                                               
Because  this change  occurred  "pre-refrigeration," the  product                                                               
became   unsafe.     The  response   was   the  requirement   for                                                               
pasteurization.  She said in  herd shares, people are involved in                                                               
the health  of their animals.   She  indicated that the  issue of                                                               
raw milk [going bad] occurs very infrequently.                                                                                  
8:15:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SUZY  CROSBY, Cottonwood  Creek  Farm,  continued the  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation  started by  the bill  sponsor.   A  photo of  goats                                                               
shows on slide 9.  Slide  10 lists the following reasons for goat                                                               
raising:  ease  of handling; digestibility of  goat milk; minimal                                                               
infrastructure; simple cleanup; and  goats are the "missing link"                                                               
between pets and  livestock.  Slide 11 explains the  reason for a                                                               
herd share  is that  goats:   can help  "pay their  way"; connect                                                               
consumers with  producers; satisfy  the need for  "loca-vores" to                                                               
consume food  grown locally; provide  the freedom of  choice; and                                                               
provide  food security.    Ms.  Crosby showed  a  photo of  empty                                                               
retail grocery  chill shelves during  the pandemic, on  slide 12,                                                               
and then contrasted  that with the photo on slide  13 of the full                                                               
shelves  of chilled  product at  her  farm during  the same  time                                                               
MS. CROSBY talked  about what herd share is and  is not, which is                                                               
shown on  slides 13  and 14.   Herd  share is:   legal  in Alaska                                                               
under regulation; currently restricted  to fluid milk only, which                                                               
HB 22  seeks to  expand; sustainable through  community supported                                                               
agriculture  (CSA); and  requires a  commitment and  monthly herd                                                               
share maintenance fee.  Ms.  Crosby explained the fee goes toward                                                               
the care  and feeding of the  animals and affords the  herd share                                                               
member  a share  of  the milk  produced by  those  animals.   She                                                               
emphasized  the importance  of  "knowing your  farmer."   A  herd                                                               
share is  not:   the grocery  store but  is a  weekly commitment;                                                               
making cheese  or other products yet,  but HB 22 seeks  to change                                                               
that.   She said  HB 22 would  allow value-added  products within                                                               
the definition of the herd share relationship.                                                                                  
8:20:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CROSBY directed  attention  to slides  15-17, which  address                                                               
safety and sanitation.  She  emphasized the importance of a clean                                                               
milking  location,   washing  hands,  and  using   a  pre-milking                                                               
antibacterial spray.   She said  Cottonwood Creek Farm  does milk                                                               
by machine  but does a "final  service" by hand and  uses a post-                                                               
milking "dip"  that keep  the goats' udders  clean and  free from                                                               
bacterial infection.   Once the  goats are milked,  she imparted,                                                               
hand  washing is  again emphasized.   She  talked about  a "sharp                                                               
dividing  line between  poop and  food."   She said  the milk  is                                                               
filtered and put  into chilled containers and  rapidly chilled in                                                               
ice  buckets in  the refrigerator,  then  to the  shelves in  the                                                               
refrigerator, and  then out  to the customer.   Ms.  Crosby noted                                                               
that the  milk is  clearly marked  such that if  there ever  is a                                                               
problem, the farm can determine on  which day and from which goat                                                               
the milk originated.   She indicated the  importance of educating                                                               
the shareholders.   She  said the returned  jars are  run through                                                               
the dishwasher at  the farm before being filled again.   The next                                                               
few slides  Ms. Crosby showed  were photos of products  she made,                                                               
including queso fresco, feta with sundried tomatoes, and chevre.                                                                
MS. CROSBY  concluded with  slide 21,  which lists  the following                                                               
benefits  that would  be brought  under  HB 22  to consumers,  as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
          Freedom to make food choices without restriction                                                                      
          Having a variety of dairy options besides milk                                                                        
       Access   to   digestible    products   for   those                                                                       
     intolerant to commercial dairy                                                                                             
          Many consumers prefer ready-made vs. DIY                                                                              
       Growing    preference     for    unique    locally                                                                       
     made/artisan food                                                                                                          
MS. CROSBY  then noted the  benefits to producers, which  read on                                                               
slide 22 as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                            
          Allows for best usage of seasonal surplus milk                                                                        
       Farmer can buy more hay per gallon of milk (goats                                                                        
     eat even during their dry period!)                                                                                         
         Specialty products would still be available in                                                                         
     winter even when fluid milk production drops                                                                               
MS. CROSBY displayed slide 23, which  lists how HB 22 would offer                                                               
benefits overall, as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                   
          Help strengthen Alaska's fragile food system                                                                          
          Help prevent food waste                                                                                               
          Expand Alaskan agriculture by offering a new                                                                          
     business opportunity for farmers                                                                                           
MS. CROSBY  concluded by  asking the  committee to  "please, free                                                               
the cheese!" by supporting HB 22.                                                                                               
8:25:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  began a line of  questioning by professing                                                               
that he is not adverse to [HB 22]  and is "a huge fan of anything                                                               
that helps our farmers move past the excessive regulations."                                                                    
MS. CROSBY  responded to Representative McCabe's  questions.  She                                                               
said her  farm got  its first  goats in 2000  and its  first herd                                                               
share  participant in  2003.   In that  time there  have been  no                                                               
reported  illnesses from  anyone drinking  the farm's  goat milk.                                                               
As to whether doing away with  the requirement that milk [sold in                                                               
retail stores] must be pasteurized,  she said she wonders whether                                                               
there would  be restrictions imposed  on raw milk sales,  and she                                                               
indicated  that such  restrictions "wouldn't  help herd  share at                                                               
all."   She  said goats  produce  milk regularly  and herd  share                                                               
participants pick  up the  milk on a  schedule, unlike  a grocery                                                               
store, where people  buy milk or not with no  schedule.  She said                                                               
the  consistency is  helpful to  her farm.   She  added that  she                                                               
would want  to study  regulations of raw  milk before  forming an                                                               
opinion.    In further  response  to  Representative McCabe,  she                                                               
expressed willingness  to talk outside  of the  meeting regarding                                                               
New Hampshire's raw milk regulations,  as well as those in Maine,                                                               
Utah, North Dakota, and Wyoming.   She noted that there have been                                                               
no surges in illness since raw milk has been allowed.                                                                           
8:29:51 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Farm  Bureau,  offered                                                               
historical background  on the  Alaska Farm  Bureau, which  is the                                                               
largest  organization  for  agriculture  in Alaska,  as  well  as                                                               
nationally, the purpose  of which is to  improve the agricultural                                                               
well-being and  expansion of  agriculture, as  well as  to enrich                                                               
the quality of  life for all Alaskans.  She  emphasized the grass                                                               
roots  of the  bureau.   She  began her  portion  of the  ongoing                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation [slides  26-33],  turning  to slide  27,                                                               
which shows two  graphics.  One states that the  number of Alaska                                                               
farms  grew 30  percent  over the  past five  years.   The  other                                                               
graphic states that the value  of food sold directly to consumers                                                               
increased  from $2.2  million in  2012 to  $4.5 million  in 2017.                                                               
She  talked about  the challenges  unique to  Alaska and  stated,                                                               
"So, it's  important to  have policies in  place that  can foster                                                               
the growth and expand access to  local food options, and HB 22 is                                                               
one way we do this."                                                                                                            
8:33:00 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SEITZ   brought  attention  to  slide   28,  regarding  food                                                               
security.    She  pointed  out that  Alaskans  spend  roughly  $2                                                               
billion  on  food  annually;  95 percent  of  purchased  food  is                                                               
imported; and  Alaskans are at the  mercy of the weather  and the                                                               
shipping systems when  it comes to the availability of  food.  As                                                               
shown on  slide 29, she pointed  out that if every  Alaskan spent                                                               
$5  a  week on  Alaska  grown  food,  the  impact would  be  $188                                                               
million.  She  said a challenge is in play  that encourages every                                                               
Alaskan to do so.                                                                                                               
MS. SEITZ directed attention to  slide 30, "Covid Impacts," which                                                               
provides some  quotes related to  the effects of the  pandemic on                                                               
the food  supply chain;  farmers were  producing, but  there were                                                               
bottlenecks  in  the   system.    Policies  put   in  place  were                                                               
challenging.   The grocery  store shelves  in Alaska  were empty.                                                               
The issues of rising prices  and food not being readily available                                                               
are still factors.   She mused at how  creating an infrastructure                                                               
and establishing policies five years  ago would have improved the                                                               
current situation.                                                                                                              
8:37:55 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SEITZ moved on to  slide 31, which illustrates Alaska's dairy                                                               
production.   Recalling a previous  question, she said  while she                                                               
does not  have the  exact number  of herd  shares in  Alaska, she                                                               
does have  the 2017  agricultural farm  census, which  shows that                                                               
there were  27 farms with  milk cows,  39 farms with  milk goats,                                                               
and  two grade  A certified  dairies.   The inserted  chart shows                                                               
that Alaska needs 28 million pounds  of milk to meet demand for a                                                               
90-day period;  current production in  Alaska for 90 days  is 3.3                                                               
million  pounds.   She  said Alaska  has  a way  to  go, and  any                                                               
increase in milk,  butter, cheese, or other dairy  product in the                                                               
state will help the state become  more self-reliant.  As shown on                                                               
slide 32,  she advised  that HB  22 would  increase opportunities                                                               
for  value-added  products,  would  promote  expansion  in  dairy                                                               
products, and  would increase  access to local  foods.   She said                                                               
the  herd share  program  would be  an option  and  a chance  for                                                               
people  to know  their  farmers.   Further,  it  would allow  for                                                               
products  to  be  available  during slow  times  of  liquid  milk                                                               
production and would give people who  do not drink liquid milk an                                                               
option for other dairy products [produced locally].                                                                             
MS. SEITZ  reviewed the points  she had made, showed  her contact                                                               
information on slide 33, and offered to answer questions.                                                                       
8:41:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SEITZ, in response to  Representative McCarty, said she could                                                               
not give the  exact numbers regarding how many acres  and food is                                                               
needed to  supply food  for animals,  but did  say that  any time                                                               
livestock  numbers increase  it does  give animal  feed producers                                                               
the opportunity to increase their  supply.  She related that land                                                               
is available for expansion.   In response to follow-up questions,                                                               
she  confirmed  that  there are  conservation  reserve  programs,                                                               
which protect land.  She  stated, "Whether it's the discussion of                                                               
capturing  carbon  or  saving  land for  the  future  options  of                                                               
farming, ... I think until  someone is ready to start production,                                                               
conserving it is  ... a good option."  To  the concern of whether                                                               
there is sufficient  land that can be made  available and federal                                                               
money being  spent to pay farmers  to sit on land,  she responded                                                               
that  the  concern  she  hears  more about  is  good  land  being                                                               
developed into housing.                                                                                                         
8:46:01 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN suggested the farmers  slated to testify could be                                                               
asked about the availability of feed produced in Alaska.                                                                        
8:46:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SEITZ, in  response to a question  from Representative McCabe                                                               
about   illnesses  associated   with  [consumption   of  products                                                               
purchased  through] herd  shares, said  other than  one issue  in                                                               
2010 or 2011, she is not aware of any others.                                                                                   
8:48:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SEITZ,  in  response  to   a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Drummond about  land west of  Nenana recently made  accessible by                                                               
the construction of  a bridge, confirmed that there is  "a lot of                                                               
excitement to  see how it's  going to come  to fruition."   It is                                                               
currently raw land.                                                                                                             
8:52:03 AM                                                                                                                    
AMY PETTIT,  Executive Director, Alaska Farmland  Trust, prefaced                                                               
her portion of the shared  PowerPoint presentation [slides 34-47]                                                               
by taking an  on-the-spot survey inquiring who  had eaten locally                                                               
and who  had not  eaten locally  and then  exclaiming, "Perfect,"                                                               
adding that "that's  what we're doing this morning; HB  22 is all                                                               
about access to local food."   She brought attention to slide 36,                                                               
which  states that  the  Alaska Farmland  Trust's  mission is  to                                                               
protect agricultural  land, promote the agricultural  industry in                                                               
many  ways,  and  educate the  public  through  hearings,  social                                                               
media, and radio storytelling.                                                                                                  
8:55:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PETTIT directed  attention to  slide 37  and emphasized  the                                                               
growth in  agriculture in  Alaska.   Based on  the aforementioned                                                               
census, she related  that from 2012 to 2017 the  number of Alaska                                                               
farms grew by 30 percent, which  is counter to the national trend                                                               
of a  3 percent  decrease in the  number of farms.   As  shown on                                                               
slide 38,  she said Alaska  is leading  the nation in  new farms.                                                               
She noted  that 46 percent  of Alaska  farmers have less  than 10                                                               
years of farming experience.  As  shown on slide 39, she reported                                                               
that the  number of small farms  comprising one to nine  acres is                                                               
up 73 percent.  She emphasized that  farmers do not need a lot of                                                               
space  to grow  food  in Alaska.   She  noted  that the  proposed                                                               
legislation  would change  a specific  area of  the industry  but                                                               
remarked  that "a  rising tide  floats all  boats" and  indicated                                                               
that HB  22 would pave the  way for various size  farms to "scale                                                               
up" in size.   As shown on  slide 40, she stated  that 47 percent                                                               
of Alaska farmers are women,  as compared to the national average                                                               
of 27 percent.   She further related that between  2012 and 2017,                                                               
the value of food sold  directly to consumers increased from $2.2                                                               
million  to $4.5  million,  as  shown on  slide  41.   She  asked                                                               
members to consider what other  industry saw that level of growth                                                               
in five  years.  She  moved on to slides  42 and 43,  related the                                                               
short  title  of HB  22,  and  said  the  bill is  about  access,                                                               
removing   barriers,   developing    economies,   and   expanding                                                               
MS.  PETTIT expressed  appreciation  for Representative  McCabe's                                                               
effort to  establish the  safety of  raw milk.   She  pointed out                                                               
that when someone gets sick from  eating food from a salad bar in                                                               
a local  restaurant, neither  the restaurant  nor the  "salad bar                                                               
industry"  gets shut  down for  a decade,  whereas the  last time                                                               
someone became  ill from  drinking raw milk  was over  one decade                                                               
ago, and  yet access  to the product  is still  being restricted.                                                               
Ms. Pettit said her language of  love is cheese.  She remarked it                                                               
is absurd that she has cheese  in her refrigerator from a farm in                                                               
Oregon but  cannot buy Ms. Crosby's  cheese made in Alaska.   She                                                               
said  HB  22  would  remove  restrictions  and  allow  access  to                                                               
products.   The final  slides showed  a pin  design she  said she                                                               
would  send to  the bill  sponsor to  distribute to  legislators,                                                               
some  local  color  promoting  Alaska grown  food  for  the  next                                                               
generation, and Ms. Pettit's contact information.                                                                               
9:02:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PETTIT, in  response to  a question  from Co-Chair  Schrage,                                                               
offered her understanding that there  are raw milk products going                                                               
over state lines.                                                                                                               
9:03:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN opened public testimony on HB 22.                                                                               
9:03:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MARLENE  WENGER  related  that  she and  her  husband  have  been                                                               
farming in  the Copper River  Valley since 1985 and  are involved                                                               
in the Copper  River Valley Bureau.  She said  they run a country                                                               
store which carries as many  Alaska products as possible.  During                                                               
the  pandemic,  the products  they  order  from Costco  were  not                                                               
available,  but the  local  products were.    She encouraged  the                                                               
support  of agriculture  and farmers  in Alaska.   Regarding  the                                                               
previous  question  about  feed,  Ms. Wenger  said  she  and  her                                                               
husband raise their own hay,  buy their grain from Delta, support                                                               
Alaska  Hay and  Feed, and  raise and  sell beef  and pork.   She                                                               
expressed her support of legalizing  all raw dairy products, even                                                               
though  she noted  that she  cannot  sell it  in her  store.   In                                                               
response  to Representative  McCabe,  she confirmed  that if  she                                                               
could sell it  in her store, she would.   In response to Co-Chair                                                               
Schrage,  she  relayed that  she  and  her husband  run  Wenger's                                                               
Country Store.                                                                                                                  
9:06:54 AM                                                                                                                    
TERRY SNYDER  testified in support  of HB  22 as a  consumer, not                                                               
farmer.  She  talked about the importance  of self-sufficiency in                                                               
food  productivity, made  especially  apparent  by the  pandemic.                                                               
She admired  that the bill  is modeled after  successful programs                                                               
in other  states that are  using best  practices.  She  asked the                                                               
committee to pass HB 22 out of committee.                                                                                       
9:08:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CIANA THOMAS  said she is a  farmer by day and  trucker by night.                                                               
She said "we" move approximately  $10,000 in Delta grains through                                                               
a  transport  co-operative  to the  Matanuska-Susitna  ("Mat-Su")                                                               
Valley every  month.  She said  she has "a modest  fiber and meat                                                               
block of sheep"  but is still a herd share  owner for winter milk                                                               
with the goat dairies.  She is  also an inspector.  To a previous                                                               
query as  to the possible benefit  of selling to the  public, she                                                               
explained that  would require that  the government would  have to                                                               
step in  as inspector.   She said she  does not oppose  that, but                                                               
would not want  the result to be the elimination  of herd shares,                                                               
because the  herd shares are  a community activity.   She pointed                                                               
out  that she  can trust  her herd  master to  handle her  farm's                                                               
liquid milk;  she can  take that liquid  milk to  a knowledgeable                                                               
friend  to  make  that  milk  into  a  value-added  product;  but                                                               
currently she  cannot ask her herd  master to do so.   She opined                                                               
that that  is silly,  since the  herd master  has been  a trusted                                                               
part of  the process,  and further the  herd master  consumes the                                                               
product and, thus,  has a vested interest in  keeping the product                                                               
pure so no one  would get sick from it.  She  said she would like                                                               
to  see the  restriction  [lifted] that  is  preventing the  herd                                                               
master from adding value to her product.                                                                                        
9:12:29 AM                                                                                                                    
LARAE SMITH related that she  currently is a consumer and, having                                                               
recently bought a farm, will soon  be a producer.  She emphasized                                                               
her  support of  HB 22  for the  benefits it  would bring  to the                                                               
state and  the country.   She said  she was previously  in Idaho,                                                               
which  she indicated  had less  strict laws  regarding raw  dairy                                                               
products, which allowed local farmers  to supply people with food                                                               
during the  pandemic.   She said  she thinks  [HB 22]  would help                                                               
local farmers,  which would  then benefit  the local  food supply                                                               
source.   She said she  loves the idea  of farmers being  able to                                                               
create products  from their [liquid  milk].  She echoed  the idea                                                               
shared by  Ms. Thomas that  the connection  of the farmer  to the                                                               
food results  in a  vested interest  in making  sure the  food is                                                               
9:14:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MILENA SEVIGNY  shared that  her son is  allergic to  cow's milk,                                                               
and she became a herd share  member to have access to local fresh                                                               
raw [goat] milk.   She said she  can visit the farm  at any time.                                                               
She said  as an  employee at  a shipping company  at the  Port of                                                               
Alaska,  in Anchorage,  she  sees how  quickly  the state's  food                                                               
supply  can get  cut off.   She  characterized the  state of  the                                                               
port's infrastructure  as dire  and said the  port is  a critical                                                               
infrastructure  by  which  a  majority of  food  is  imported  in                                                               
Alaska.   She  related that  because of  stronger winter  storms,                                                               
there has  been an increase in  delays in the arrival  of shipped                                                               
products.   She  indicated  this is  another  reason, beside  the                                                               
pandemic,  that  shelves  in  stores have  been  empty,  and  she                                                               
encouraged  support  of  any  means by  which  to  increase  food                                                               
security in  Alaska and  to make  it easy  for residents  to have                                                               
local food options.                                                                                                             
9:17:27 AM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR GRISWOLD, Golden Heart Dairy,  said he runs a jersey dairy                                                               
and produces  milk to  over 60 regular  herd share  customers who                                                               
pay for membership as well as  product.  He said growth is faster                                                               
than  the dairy  can produce  milk  to customers  currently.   He                                                               
said, "We  want to  see this  thing get  straightened out,  so we                                                               
don't have to have these  contracts with our customers to protect                                                               
ourselves."  Mr.  Griswold called himself a peddler  who wants no                                                               
interference from the federal government  in selling his product,                                                               
which he said usually is cleaner  than the "dead milk" people buy                                                               
from  Outside.   In  response  to Co-Chair  Hannan,  he said  100                                                               
percent of his feed comes from Alaska.                                                                                          
9:21:50 AM                                                                                                                    
ASHLEY EBENAL, Owner, Little Patch  of Heaven Farm, said her farm                                                               
offers  eggs,   whole  butchered  chickens,  pork   boxes,  fresh                                                               
vegetables, and goat milk shares.   She said she knows there is a                                                               
small  risk in  allowing  sales  of raw  milk  products, but  she                                                               
remarked there  is also a  risk in  allowing the sale  of produce                                                               
under the cottage  food laws of Alaska, yet the  state allows the                                                               
sale of the  produce.  She said both grower  and buyer are taught                                                               
how to properly handle and wash produce.   She said this is not a                                                               
matter of  whether it is  safe but rather whether  the government                                                               
should be  allowed "to decide  for us."   She said  her customers                                                               
would like  to be able  to buy  product through the  herd shares.                                                               
She  emphasized that  farmers work  tirelessly to  provide fresh,                                                               
healthy choices for  Alaskans, and they want to be  able to do it                                                               
legally and  safely.  She  said she knows Alaskans  make educated                                                               
decision and love  their freedom, and she urged  the committee to                                                               
give people the choice to decide  for themselves.  She added that                                                               
her farm  uses almost all local  feed for its livestock;  all but                                                               
the medicines/vaccinations for her goats  is local.  She said her                                                               
hay comes  from Delta.  She  said the state has  "huge amounts of                                                               
property  set up  for farming."   She  said the  number of  farms                                                               
going up  for sale are  the result  of farmers' inability  to get                                                               
their products to customers legally.   She said HB 22 would allow                                                               
the legal provision  of products and encourage  farmers to invest                                                               
in land and scale up their operations.                                                                                          
9:24:36 AM                                                                                                                    
TARA LUCAS  spoke about  a dairy her  husband's family  had, with                                                               
products  sold  in  Petersburg   until  requirements  became  too                                                               
restrictive.   She  indicated  she and  her  husband enjoyed  the                                                               
health  benefits of  goats' milk  when  they had  goats, and  now                                                               
would  like to  be  able to  buy  it from  someone.   She  stated                                                               
concern  about  overregulation.   She  said  she would  like  the                                                               
opportunity to decide for herself.                                                                                              
9:27:54 AM                                                                                                                    
GINA JOHNSON  testified in  support of  HB 22.   She said  she is                                                               
able to  buy local goat  milk, but  it has been  pasteurized, and                                                               
raw milk  is more  nutritious.   She said goat  milk is  just one                                                               
molecule different from human milk.   She pointed out that babies                                                               
drink  their mother's  milk without  it being  pasteurized.   Not                                                               
having to  import a  milk product  would make  it that  much more                                                               
nutritious,  she said.   She  talked about  keeping the  money in                                                               
state.  In conclusion, she encouraged a "yes" vote on HB 22.                                                                    
9:29:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN,  after ascertaining that  there was no  one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 22.                                                                        
9:30:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  asked whether  passage  of  HB 22  would                                                               
create  any  challenges  for   the  Department  of  Environmental                                                               
9:30:41 AM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  GERLACH, DVM,  State Veterinarian,  Office  of the  State                                                               
Veterinarian,  Division of  Environmental  Health, Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation (DEC),  answered that  the department                                                               
has no regulations regarding herd  shares; the state has required                                                               
herd share  operators to  have a contract  with their  herd share                                                               
owners.  Part of the reason  for that requirement was so that the                                                               
herd  share  owners  would  know  the producer  and  be  able  to                                                               
evaluate the  product by  going to  the farm.   In response  to a                                                               
follow-up question,  he clarified that  HB 22 would  not increase                                                               
the DEC's  work other  than working with  the Division  of Public                                                               
Health  to  do  follow-up  work   in  the  event  there  was  "an                                                               
9:31:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN noted there is a  zero fiscal note attached to HB
9:32:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE  asked Dr. Gerlach whether  an amendment to                                                               
HB 22 that  would allow direct sale from a  milk producing farm -                                                               
whether cow  or goat - without  a contract or herd  share program                                                               
would impact  DEC by requiring inspections,  and therefore impact                                                               
the fiscal note.                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH answered  that that  would potentially  impact DEC's                                                               
operation.    He   said  it  would  depend   on  the  regulations                                                               
associated  with the  sale  and  distribution of  raw  milk.   He                                                               
explained  that   currently  the   state  allows  the   sale  and                                                               
distribution  of   grade  A   milk,  which   provides  background                                                               
regulation for  the safety  of the  product, the  containers, and                                                               
the  handling   and  processing   of  the  product   through  the                                                               
commercial chain to the consumer,  and the health of the animals.                                                               
If raw milk was going to  be under such a regulated process, then                                                               
that would have an impact on DEC.                                                                                               
9:34:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN stated her intent to  put HB 22 aside and hear it                                                               
again later for amendments.                                                                                                     
9:35:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  expressed excitement  at the interest  in HB
22 across the state expressed through public testimony.                                                                         
9:35:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HANNAN announced that HB 22 was held over.                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 22 Sponsor Statement - Version A 1.28.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Sectional Analysis- Version A 1.20.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Supporting Document - Sample Herd Share Contract 3.7.19.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HRES 4/16/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 22
HB 22 Supporting Document - Relevant Alaska Administrative Codes 2.22.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HRES 4/16/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 22
HB 22 Supporting Document - Memo Summarizing Herd Share Research by Farm Attorney Pete Kennedy 9.28.18.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HRES 4/16/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 22
HB 22 Supporting Document - Foodborne Illness and Complaint Reports Summary, Alaska 2015-2017 9.27.18.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Supporting Document - Foodborne Outbreaks in Alaska 4.17.19.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Letters of Support 3.10.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Emails in Support 2.22.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB22 Zero Fiscal Note DEC.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Research - Slide Presentation - Tarr 3.30.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Research - Slide Presentation - Crosby 3.30.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Research - Slide Presentation - Seitz 3.30.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Research - Slide Presentation - Pettit 3.30.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22
HB 22 Additional Support Emails 3.29.21.pdf HCRA 3/30/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/6/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 22