The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will hold a workshop to explain two new Nevada laws designed to give farmers, home growers and cooks more opportunities to sell their products locally.
The workshop is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Aug. 12 in Las Vegas. The Mineral County office of UNCE will be included by video conference.

“These workshops are part of a statewide extension team that is spearheaded out of the UNCE, Mineral County office on a grant funded by [the] USDA Risk Management Agency,” said Extension Educator Staci Emm. “We work with several different departments across the University of Nevada, Reno campus to provide agricultural business risk education to Nevada producers, and this workshop can specifically assist local residents utilize their own kitchens to sell value-added agricultural products.”

The workshop will feature a panel of experts on cottage food, including a Washoe County health official; the Utah cottage food rules coordinator; and Laura and Monty Bledsoe.

The Bledsoes gained national attention when a farm-to-fork event they were hosting was raided and shut down by Clark County Health Department officers.

Morning presentations will focus on SB 206, which changed the legal definition to a food establishment to exclude individuals who make and sell certain foods, like dried fruit and baked goods, at home, called cottage food.

Before the law went into effect, people who sold cottage food had to comply with the same health restrictions as a restaurant.

The afternoon session will focus on AB 200, which allows farmers to hold farm-to-fork events.

Both laws went into effect on July 1.

These laws have several benefits for farmers, small growers, and cottage food makers, including a chance to supplement their income, said Carol Bishop, extension educator in Longdale. They also reduce the risk farmers and growers take when they grow crops, because they can sell products that might otherwise spoil.

This is especially important if there is a bumper crop of berries, for instance, Bishop, an agricultural economist, said, because the producer can make and sell jams and jellies.

The laws also allow people to test new business ideas without making the large investments required to start a food business, Bishop said.

The new laws could also promote tourism among people who want to try farm-to-fork meals, and help people get to know local farmers, which promotes healthier eating, Bishop said.

“Both of these bills are really aimed at stimulating local economic development,” Bishop said. “That’s why Cooperative Extension really wants to help people understand this legislation and take advantage of it.”

UNCE also connects growers and entrepreneurs to University of Nevada experts.

“That’s what’s really nice about being part of the University,” Bishop said. “We have such a wide variety of expertise at our disposal that we can help citizens throughout the state access.”

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $20 and includes lunch. Two people per farm may attend for the $20 registration fee.

Mineral County residents can call Patricia Click or Kellie Zuniga at 945-3444 for more information and to register.