All Maine Matters

September 2006



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All Maine Matters

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Vol. 1, No. 9      September 2006 FREE

Bioterrorism & Hauling Hay
by Ken Anderson

The federal government’s efforts to control the nation’s food supplies have already affected everyone from large-scale cattlegrowers to backyard farmers. Now they’re coming after the hay supply.

As a part of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has established stringent requirements for farmers who sell hay. In order to comply with these regulations, farmers must maintain records that include, among other things, the field that each load came from, the truck that hauled it, the route that the truck took, and the names and contact information of the driver, as well as anyone who helped load or unload it. Also, the buyer’s name and address, along with the delivery date, must be on record.

At this point, there is no set format in which the records must be kept, as long as the federal government has access to them within twenty-four hours, if requested.

According to the law, these regulations apply to those who manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold or import food, and animal feed is explicitly included in the FDA’s definition of food. Feed manufacturers, grain elevators, alfalfa processors, and any other entities which process or store farm products must comply.

Currently, most farms are exempt, but commercial hay growers are not. Most hay producers, brokers, and haulers will have to comply with these regulations. Operations with eleven or more full-time em -ployees were to have complied by June 6 of this year, while smaller operations will have until December 9.
The definition of a farm, in the eyes of the FDA, is: “A facility in one general physical location devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops, the raising of animals (including seafood), or both.”

Most farms, to a some extent, are exempted from the law, as long as the “farm” includes: “facilities that pack or store food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised or consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership.”

Those who grow cotton seed, hay, and even gin trash that is sold to be used as animal feed, fall under these regulations.
Since the first phase of this law became effective on June 6, 2006, trucks hauling hay to the eastern states have been stopped at the scales because they did not have the required paperwork. The FDA has the right, under the law, to shut down these trucks until they have the required paperwork.

Hay producers and trucking companies who do not comply with this law will face consequences. Consumers, of course, will have to pay for the considerable extra cost involved in complying with these regulations.

The regulations of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 seem to go hand in hand with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) requirements, which we have written about in previous editions of All Maine Matters.

Ken Anderson is, among other things, the editor of the online news outlet Magic City Morning Star, on the web at

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