New Law Benefits Hobbyist Beekeepers Who Sell Honey from Their Homes
HARRISBURG – This week, the governor signed into law legislation authored by Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) that allows Pennsylvania beekeepers to sell honey from the farm or homestead where it is processed without the need to go through the state licensing and registration process.
“This legislation was the result of talks I had with local beekeepers here in the 111th District,” said Major. “We were fortunate to have the support of my colleagues in both the House and Senate so we could have this commonsense legislation fast-tracked and signed into law quickly. The size and management of our bee population is vital to an agriculture industry that relies heavily on pollination and, therefore, the support of our beekeepers is important.”
In total, Pennsylvania is home to more than 2,000 beekeepers who actively manage around 40,000 bee colonies. However, Major noted that although there are some large-scale beekeeping operations in the Commonwealth, most of the beekeepers are classified as part-time, hobbyist beekeepers, who manage bee colonies for the simple pleasure of the activity.
“Our small, independent beekeepers who wish to sell enough honey to cover the cost of their hobby are financially burdened by the existing law,” said Major. “They will now have more freedom to sell their product from their homes without having to pay a registration fee.”
The new law exempts from food establishment registration and retail food facility licensing any person who is in compliance with the Honey Sale and Labeling Act and who processes 100 percent of the honey products offered to the public on the farm from which the products are offered.
Those beekeepers who want to sell their honey at farm stands and other retail establishments would still need to register and pay a $35 fee. This is because, according to state regulations, any product that is sold at a retail establishment (including farm stands) must be properly labeled and come from an “approved source,” which is a designation that is obtained only through proper registration.
The new law goes into effect in 60 days.
State Representative Sandra Major
111th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman