North Dakota Food Freedom

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What is North Dakota Food Freedom?

  • We believe that any North Dakota producer of food or drink should be able to sell their product directly to any North Dakota consumer WITHOUT government oversight as long as they disclose to the consumer that the product was created at home without inspection, permits or any government oversight.
  • We trust consumers to be their own inspectors who are able to decide if they trust the producer to provide a good, safe product and make buying decisions accordingly.
  • We believe producers understand that, if their product is not safe and makes someone ill, word will travel quickly and the producer will be out of business.
  • We do NOT believe that anyone should be required to purchase a direct-from-the-producer food or drink. These should be willing buyer, willing seller transactions.

Friends, some of our Food Freedom legislative warriors are facing major primary battles and need your help. There are special interest PACs loaded with out of state money who hate the idea of someone standing up for the rights of the individual against big government. We also have Food Freedom opponents who could be defeated in this primary.

First is Representative Daniel Johnston, now running for State Treasurer. Dan was a sponsor of the original 2017 Food Freedom bill and either he or his wife Wendi attended every hearing; sometimes testifying. Dan has given several memorable floor speeches on behalf of cottage food producers and against the overreach of the Department of Health. He attended the Department’s rules hearing to quietly remind the Department that the Legislature was watching. Dan’s opponent for the Treasurer’s position is Representative Tom Beadle, who touts his record of supporting business. Yet Tom Beadle voted against Food Freedom and cottage food producers EVERY time there was a floor vote. Why does it matter how a State Treasurer votes on Food Freedom? The State Treasurer sits on several boards dealing with investments and making decisions which can impact you.

Bottom line – Johnston has supported our family farmers and cottage food producers and his opponent has not.

District 20 (Hillsboro area)– Representative Aaron McWilliams has carried the Food Freedom bill on the floor in both 2017 and 2019 legislative sessions and served on the conference committees. He’s researched the issue extensively. Aaron helped us tremendously behind the scenes in ways most don’t know. He looked for ways to expand products and developed economic data about the growth of cottage food and the detrimental impact the 2019 law and rules will have on our producers. Food Freedom is one of his top issues.

District 28 - Representative Jeff Magrum was a sponsor of the 2017 Food Freedom bill and a key vote on the House Agriculture Committee. When he couldn’t attend committee hearings in the Senate, he sent his wife Donna, who provided important testimony on insurance at a crucial hearing. Jeff is running against Representative Brandenburg and Representative Jim Grueneich (who moved into the district recently). Both Brandenburg and Grueneich have voted for Food Freedom. This race has made the news because of the extraordinary PAC money that’s being spent.

District 8 – Representative Jeff Delzer has voted for Food Freedom on the House Floor every time. He is being attacked by special interest PACs.

District 12 (Jamestown) – One of Food Freedom’s most vocal opponents, Representative Bernie Satrom, is in a three way race for the Republican nomination. Satrom has voted against us – and spoken against us - every single time. He served on both the House Ag Committee and both of the conference committees, where he praised the efforts of the Health Department as he voted against our producers. One of his challengers is Grant Christensen, whose family has made many trips to the State Capitol in support of Food Freedom.

Let’s also not forget the Republican gubernatorial race. Governor Burgum signed Food Freedom in 2017. In early 2018 the Department of Health proposed rules which gutted the legislation. The Institute for Justice (IJ) wrote a letter to the Department, Governor and Attorney General suggesting the Food Freedom law expressly forbid the Department from writing the rules. Some legislators met with the Governor and the rules were withdrawn. In 2019, Senator Jerry Klein proposed his bill which would codify the Department’s rules. That bill failed, but this time, when the Department attempted to write rules and IJ sent their letter and our Freedom Warriors talked to the Governor’s office, the Governor did NOTHING. The law didn’t change. Apparently the Governor’s attitude about Food Freedom did. We hope you will take that action into account when you vote.

Please support these men who have supported Food Freedom.

We are continuing the fight for Food Freedom!
Thanks to courageous producers willing to take a stand and attorney's from the Institute for Justice, a lawsuit has been filed against the Department of Health and Julie Wagendorf.

You can read a press release about the lawsuit here.

You can read the actual complaint filed with the court here.


Despite a heroic effort by Representative Rick Becker and cottage food producers, we lost the battle on rules December 3, 2019. The Legislature's Administrative Rules committee decided there wasn't enough to overturn the Agency's rulemaking effort, so they go into effect January 1, 2020.


Chair Bill Devlin mentioned the emails received from cottage food advocates, plus written testimony submitted by the Institute for Justice and ND Farm Bureau. We thank EVERYONE who took the time to make calls or send emails and share their stories.


Representative Rick Becker talked about agency overreach and the dangerous precedent it sets. He reminded committee members that these same restrictions were rejected by the 2019 State Legislature. Then he asked the group what they would do if some of the bills he'd introduced which didn't pass came back to them in the form of agency rules.


Only Representatives Beck, Marschall and Steiner voted to reject the restrictions on cottage food. Repsentatives Devlin, Boschee, Satrom, and Weisz plus Senators Pollman, Heckaman, Klein, Lemm and Rust voted to keep the restrictions. Representatives Kim Koppelman, Pyle, Dan Ruby and Toman were absent.


This is just one battle. We're better off now than we were in 2017. Now we have to keep our chins up and remember that freedom isn't won (or kept) easily. We need to regroup and convince more legislators to join with us in 2021 to craft legislation that will withstand the tactics of unelected bureaucrats.


Please take time to thank our stalwart three supporters and let the rest of the committee members know your disappointment.


Enjoy your cottage food.

We'll have more information soon.

Read the current proposed rules for yourself here.

Read our analysis of the rules here.

Want to understand what happened and when? Look at our timeline.

Read a report of the rules hearing here and testimony here.

During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Department of Health's proposal for restricting sales of cottage food products was soundly defeated. (Read more about it here.) The Department didn't get their way, so now they're trying to write law themselves.

There have been NO CASES of foodborne illness associated with legal cottage food products since the 2017 law was passed.

If Food Freedom is important to you
 PLEASE contact members of the Administrative Rules Committee.

If you are able, please send us a donation. $10, $20 or more is very helpful.

We do NOT have staff. All donations are used to pay for the website, Facebook ads, etc.

You can make PayPal donations through our Web Store.

OR, if you'd rather send a check, make it out to ND Food Freedom and mail to:

LeAnn Harner, 2975 Hwy 25, Mandan, ND 58554