Updated 5/9/2012. I will continue to update as I find more info — and, eventually, make this a bit more readable.
Disclaimer: Don’t take the word of some random idiot (like me!) on the internet. Use the contact info below to call and verify the info for yourself. Laws change, typos abound, and local issues vary.
I wanted a place keep my notes on Missouri regulations as I learn them. Right now, they mostly concern selling things on/from a small, family farm, as well as at the local farmers market in Hannibal, Missouri. The main number for the Missouri Department of Agriculture is 573-751-4211 or you can email them at email@example.com. They’re very friendly, helpful folks so don’t be afraid to call them.
The nitty gritties, straight from the state: Egg Quality Program http://www.sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/2csr/2c90-36.pdf
Excerpts from the Missouri Egg Laws and Regulations publication: Requirements for Shell Eggs Sold in Missouri http://mda.mo.gov/weights/device/pdf/eggrequirementsforfm.pdf
I spoke with W & M just to be certain I understood everything. She said that there are no licenses or permits required to sell eggs from your own, on-premises flock, directly to the consumer. If I would like to sell to friends (in Missouri), I can deliver my eggs to them for sale without any trouble. It’s not specified directly in the regulations but they don’t worry about it. The intention of the law is to keep people from setting up on some random street corner, selling eggs, and then disappearing. If there were ever any issues with the eggs sold, no one would know where to contact the seller. Bottom line: If you’re selling eggs on your own property from your own flock, or selling to friends who know you, nothing is required of you, according to the state of Missouri. (Of course, if you’re a town, there may be local regs.)
To sell eggs at a farmer’s market requires both a dealer’s license and a retailer’s license, each $5. Find applications for both online here: http://mda.mo.gov/weights/device/pdf/egglicapp.pdf
I currently have questions in to clarify a few issues in reference to candling, grading, and sizing. The state’s info mentions following USDA regs but that requires inspectors and all sorts of headaches. The Div. of W & M lady I spoke with on the phone 5/8/2012 thinks that doesn’t sound right and will have the person in charge call me when she returns to the office tomorrow.
Update from other vendors: The Marion County Health Department will notify the USDA that we plan on selling eggs. (Why would the egg licensure folks not do so? I dunno.) The USDA will make an appointment to come out and give us a quickie instruction on candling (and I assume grading/sizing?). Vendors said it was no big deal, just ten minutes.
In the meantime, here are two links from the USDA:
“Shell Eggs from Farm to Table” http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Focus_On_Shell_Eggs/index.asp
“United States Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs” http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004376
Raw Honey & Beeswax Sales:
I have a packet of info on the way to me with the specifics and I’ll update this after receiving it. From what I was told from W & M over the phone, however, it’s simple. They’re only concerned with labeling. The labels must have three bits of info: 1) What is in the container? 2) How much is in the container? 3) Who put it in the container?
So far, no one else at the Missouri Department of Agriculture can find any laws concerning selling raw honey & beeswax as long as you are selling from your home or at your farmer’s market. I’ll continue to update if I find further info.
Raw Goat Milk Sales:
The person to speak with is out sick and will call me back. In the meantime, you can read a bit about raw milk in Missouri here: http://mda.mo.gov/animals/milk/rawmilk.php. It seems we live in a pretty good state for raw milk.
Update 3/12/2012: I just spoke with Amy at the Milk Board — very nice & helpful. No special anything is required to sell raw milk directly to the consumer on the farm. No involvement with Weights & Measures, no special label laws, nothing. (Note that things do change should you wish to sell milk anywhere other than the farm.)
As far as selling milk at the farmers market, you may not actually sell it there. However, you may take orders for it and deliver it to your customers at the market the following week. (Crazy, right?)
If you sell only annuals, no inspection, license, or permit is required. (Please note I only inquired about selling plants I’d grown myself.)
Should you decide to grow and/or sell perennials of any sort, you must apply for a license. There are two options. Both sound fairly simple and have small fees, based on the amount of business you do and land used for the business. The fees start at $20 for the smaller growers and go up from there. Very reasonable so I may consider that down the road. The fees will get you a certificate and an annual inspection of the growing facility. I was told it’s an easy and fairly quick process.
A good overview is found here: Requirements for Sales at Open Air Markets, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and Other Commercial Outlets: http://mda.mo.gov/weights/device/pdf/requirementsforfm.pdf I have an info packet coming from W & M and will update with more details. Selling the produce itself is easy. The regs are mainly concerned with how you’re selling them, volume- and/or weight-wise.
Update: I received the packet and it was the same info in the above links. I did, however, get another, expanded version of the above emailed to me to include certified scale information and recommended methods of sale. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward a copy to you.
Be aware that there are various laws & regs concerning labeling your products. I’ll have to flesh this out later as I’m out of time for right now.
“Direct Marketing” from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA): https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=263
“Selling Strategies for Local Food Producers” from MU Guides online: http://extension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/agguides/hort/g06222.pdf
“Marketing the Market” from KRC Sustainable Agriculture Management Guide: http://www.kansasruralcenter.org/publications/MarketingTheMarket.pdf
Think Outside the Barn, a blog by the Missouri Department of Agriculture: http://thinkoutsidethebarn.com/mda/
“Farmers Market Resources” from the Missouri Department of Agriculture: http://mda.mo.gov/abd/fmkt/
Now, I’ll break it down by summarizing who covers what.
Hannibal Farmers Market:
I don’t have anything in writing. I have lots of info but I don’t want to post it until I have firm, written-in-stone info.
I do know that vendor spots will come in two sizes: 10′ x 10′ and 10′ x 30′. I don’t know what criteria they will use to choose who gets which. Market will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., every Saturday in 2012 from May 19 through October 13. Vendor set up will begin at 7:00 a.m. each Saturday. We’ll be set up in the lot next to Kerley’s Pub, 214 North Main Street, in historic downtown Hannibal.
A huge thanks goes out to Kerley’s Pub for donating the space for the Farmers Market. Stop by and explore their menu next time you’re around!
Update: I now have a copy of the Hannibal Farmers Market guidebook. Everything is simple common sense. Love it! (If you need a copy, contact me and I’ll put you in touch with our board members.) It boils down to no reselling, no flea market sorts of things, and weight down your canopy legs (one gallon of cement per leg). All spaces for 2012 are free of charge but it’s on a first come, first served basis. If you wish to reserve a certain spot, it’s a one-time fee for all season of $20 per 10′ x 10′ spot and $25 per 10′ x 30′ truck spot. The larger truck spots are there for those of us who will be selling animals and large amounts of produce. There is room for your truck to stay in your spot to eliminate hauling loads of goodies back and forth at setup and closing. (Yay!)
Kerley’s Update: Good gravy, he has some great food! We had our vendors’ meeting at his place last night. Very nice, with an outdoor courtyard. I had already eaten but most other folks ordered some dinner. Man, the smell was killing me! In a good way, of course. And you should see the size of the pork tenderloin sandwich. Wow. Kerley’s will be open and serving breakfast on Saturday mornings so pop on in to check them out while you’re at the market.
City of Hannibal:
I called them a week or so ago to inquire if I would need any permits or licenses from the city in order to sell at the farmers market. The lady I spoke, Debbie, with assured me that, no, nothing is needed from the city.
Then, we attended the city council meeting during which the farmers market was discussed. I heard someone mention a vendor’s license from the city so I emailed the city the following day. I’ve now received a short email response from Debbie that, yes, we need a business license in order to sell at the farmers market. She didn’t go into any detail on the whys of it all but I hope to find that info in the next few days. (FYI: I’ve heard it referred to as a “vendor’s license”, a “business license” and a “merchant’s license”. I assume they’re all the same thing.)
City & local taxes are all covered by a state sales tax ID. City of Hannibal can be reached at 573-221-0111. Website: http://www.hannibal-mo.gov/
Update: Per the vendors meeting, those selling only produce and plants do not need a business license. Should you wish to sell any other items, you must get a business license and pay the $40 fee. The catch is it expires in June and the FM opens in May. You may wait and apply on June 1st and then you’re covered from there on after but those first two weeks in May will still cost you an extra $40. Hrmph.
Marion County Health Department:
I spoke with Frank, an environmental public health specialist at the MCHD. Call him at 573-221-1166 and he will mail you out the “Marion County Farmers Market Food Policy” and an application for a seasonal farmers market food permit. It’s a short, simple form (not online) and the fee is $10.
In short, you may only sell things that you have personally grown and made. No reselling of others’ products. Fresh, uncut produce, eggs (with state egg license) and jams/jellies/honey maybe be sold without a permit or fee. (Eggs must be kept under 45 degrees.) Foods that can be sold with the permit are “non-potentially hazardous” foods: breads, fruit pies, and other baked goods, dried herbs, and dry mixes (such as cookies, soups, etc). All other foods must get prior authorization from the MCHD, including juices, pickled & canned goods and juices. Also, all allowable food must be labeled with “This product has not been inspected by the Department of Health and Senior Services”. As long as you fit within these restrictions, you do not need any further inspections or licenses.
There are further regulations concerning samples of food, should you choose to do that: Either maintain cut product at 41 degrees or under – or document the time and discard after an hour. (I don’t know if this applies to breads which does not spoil like produce. Will investigate that.) You must also have on-site facilities to wash, rinse, and santize tools & hands.
Sales of jams, jellies, and honey are covered under the Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 261.241: http://moga.mo.gov/statutes/c200-299/2610000241.htm
They do allow sale of live animals but they must be kept at least 10 feet from any food products. (Obviously, this will not be allowed to turn into a petting zoo or livestock show. It must be kept reasonable.) Also, a separate handwashing area must be available and used by both vendors and customers who touch the animals.
Missouri Department of Revenue
A state sales tax ID is required as all vendors must charge and collect sales tax. The 20-page application is online at http://dor.mo.gov/forms/2643.pdf It’s a bugger. I called and took notes as the office staff answered my 3,982 questions. Feel free to let me know if you need any help with it. It takes one to two weeks to go through and get your paperwork back.
Missouri Department of Agriculture, State Milk Board:
Covered above under “Raw Goat Milk Sales”. 573- 751-3830 Website: http://mda.mo.gov/animals/milk/
Missouri Department of Agriculture, Plant Industries Division:
Covered above under “Plant Sales”. 573-751-5505 Website: http://mda.mo.gov/plants/
Missouri Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures:
Same info as seen above under most of the headings. This bunch covers a lot of things we’ll sell at the market. 573-751-5639 Website: http://mda.mo.gov/weights/
In addition to the above info, you’ll want to look over the various methods of sales: bunches, weight, count, volume, etc. As mentioned above, I’ve got a pdf sent to me by the Div. Of W & M that outlines recommended methods of sale, as well as a list of companies that sell certifiable scales suitable for farmers markets.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Product Safety Commision:
If you sell soap and only soap – fitting the definition of true soap – and you make no claims as to its qualities and abilities (moisturizing, softening, soothing, etc.), your legal requirements are rather simple. As soon as you do anything else with toiletries & cosemetics, you fall under a lot of FDA regs. See http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm115449.htm and http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074201.htm Comtact the CPSC for further info through their website: http://www.cpsc.gov/