Restaurant Poultry Supplier Expresses Opposition to Bill

NORTH MANCHESTER – Jeff Hawkins of Hawkins Family Farm was invited to visit the North Manchester Town Council Wednesday and inform them on Indiana’s legislative attempts to approve House Bill 1267.

Simply explained, he said, the bill proposes a new law saying farms will not be able to sell poultry directly to a restaurant, but instead must be sent to a processing plant. Hawkins Family Farm provides poultry for many restaurants in the surrounding areas, such as 110 Craft Meatery in Warsaw  and Cerulean of Winona Lake.
“It’s a bit mystifying that this legislation has gone so far. It’s a solution in search of a problem,” he said.

Hawkins Family Farm is currently the only exempt farm left in Indiana that operates on a 20,000-bird exemption policy. Hawkins explained a little further about the battle they have faced for the past year.

“This is where we currently stand. We operate a USDA grant of permission by the board of animal health. We are currently the only farm left in Indiana under exemption,” he said. “This law has been in place for 47 years. There have been no problems with this type of inspection or regulation on this scale. There is not a recorded case of a foodborne illness from poultry from an exempt farm.”

He said the new bill was originally proposed in the Senate and was assigned to a committee, but that committee “refused to hear the case. It did pass out of committee and went to the House floor last night. They spent more debate on our issue than any other matter that day. Surprisingly, we lost, but the result came to be 54 to 43.”

Hawkins said he was impressed with the support for the issue, and that there was substance to the case they made while the legislation has no evidence or numbers to support their proposal. They have lost for now, he said, but there has been enough unsettlement to cause a stir. From here, this case will move to the Senate and be assigned to a committee.
To learn more about House Bill 1267 and Hawkins Family Farm, go to:

Also discussed Wednesday, the town of North Manchester is looking into buying a remodeled street sweeper. Street Superintendent Wayne Stephan explained that the current street sweeper has been used for 14 years, has a tremendous amount of rust damage and has had some mechanical difficulties but runs soundly.

The board was made aware of a refurbished 2003 model for sale. It has been inspected, offers a 12-month warranty, and has several features the old sweeper did not. Ryan Shock offered support on behalf of the water department and is willing to contribute 50 percent towards the purchase.

A price has yet to be negotiated with the seller and would determine whether or not the buy happens. The current sweeper would be sold either whole or piece by piece to get money back. The town council expressed support for the request if the price is within the department’s budget.

The plan to combine the roles of building commissioner, inspector and ordinance officer received an amendment to its job description. This position would take three part-time jobs and create one full-time position. It has been agreed this would be more efficient; it comes down to whether a candidate can meet the new requirements.

The Fourth Eel Rivers Annual Art Festival will return to North Manchester on Sept. 9 and 10. The Eel River’s parking on Manchester Main Street lot has requested closure in advance for the event. Those holding the event wish to give advanced notice to local employees who use the parking lot regularly.

(Story By The Times Union)