Our member survey consistently shows our 24-Hour Emergency Hotline is one of the services our members value most.
The hotline is available 24-hours in the event of a farm raid, surprise inspection, or short-term notice regarding a member’s farm or related farm business. We always have an attorney on-call who can be on the phone during a stressful, unexpected farm inspection or even seizure of product.
From October through December of 2023, we fielded calls from all over the country regarding a number of farm and food business-related issues. We feel providing a synopsis of the kinds of issues we assist with on a regular basis can give our members an idea of the kinds of questions we regularly answer.
In the interest of keeping our members and supporters better informed, we provide the following Hotline Blotter. While we will always protect the privacy of our members, we provide a summary of the type of legal challenges your fellow farmers, homesteaders, and cottage food producers are facing.
Fall 2023 Emergency Hotline
Ongoing issue! A Michigan township refuses to apply the state’s Right-to-Farm Law, alleging that small, farms are violating local ordinances, even when engaged in protected agricultural and commercial activities. FTCLDF is providing counsel to local farms being denied their Right to Farm on agricultural land.
Member called the hotline asking for assistance with raw dairy farm. Member received a letter from the state telling them to cease operations. Wanted to better understand their rights and how to stop the threatening letters.
Member called the hotline for assistance. Farm animals got out and neighbors are complaining. Local law enforcement has been involved, as well as local schools due to a bus having to stop quickly for livestock in the road.
Non-member called the hotline asking for assistance. Their town has filed a lawsuit against them for having chickens stating they are in violation of town zoning ordinances. The town’s actions are in violation of the Maine Food Sovereignty Act and Constitutional Right to Food. Individual joined FTCLDF at the homestead member level and is receiving assistance.
Raw dairy farmer had an attorney threaten someone who serves as a drop point for raw dairy. Farmer wants to know how to protect drop point host if drop point host is approached by health department.
Ongoing issue! In Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture demanded, without any rule change, that nearly all small, sustainable livestock and dairy operations obtain a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permit.
Ongoing issue! FTCLDF is challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ requirement that a small, local food producer obtain a costly commercial kitchen license in violation of Maine’s Food Sovereignty Act and Right to Food Constitutional Amendment.
Non- Emergency Legal Assistance and Advice
Besides calls to the FTCLDF Emergency Hotline this summer, FTCLDF attorneys provided legal advice, guidance, and documents to assist with additional member legal concerns.
- 70 requests for herdshare agreements and support in 17 states: NY, KY, MI, IN, KS, OH, IN, NC, LA, NV, AZ, VA, TN, MT, OR, TX, CA
- 13 requests for legal advice about selling raw dairy, raw dairy products, and raw dairy labeling in 9 states and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico: WA, VA, TX, KY, AL, KS, PR, MN, IN, MI
- 11 requests for meatshare agreements and/or meat sales consult in NC, MI, WV, UT, TN
- 15 requests for advice and assistance regarding poultry and eggs processing and sales in OH, MI, MN, NC, TN, OK, LA, NY
- 5 requests for farm liability waivers in ME, CA, NC, TN
- 2 requests for assistance with livestock guardian dog issues in CO, VA
- Questions about a purchasing agreement for livestock guardian dogs in TN
- Questions about selling cheese in AL
- Questions about animal control being called on sheep in MI
- Questions about meat repeatedly being impounded at the butcher in WA
- Questions about selling bone broth in VA
- Questions about kitchen requirements for cottage foods in NC
- Questions about selling goat’s milk caramels in AZ
Nonmembers in Need of Legal Assistance
FTCLDF receives regular calls from nonmembers with potential legal issues asking for assistance. Join today and renew your membership annually!
Please feel free to call our offices during business hours at 703.208.3276 with your questions and concerns. Members have 24/7 access to our Emergency Hotline! The hotline number can be found in Member Resources, on any of the membership materials, or by calling our regular office line during business hours. We’ve got your farmer’s back!