PENOBSCOT — Two small Maine towns have passed ordinances that would make small-scale farmers exempt from state and federal regulations if they sell foods they process directly to consumers.

At town meetings this month, residents in the Hancock County towns of Sedgwick and Penobscot passed ordinances that supporters say will help preserve small-scale farming and food processing operations. A state lawmaker is proposing a state law that would give similar exemptions.

Heather Retberg of Quill’s End Farm in Penobscot says local communities should decide on the rules over small farms that process food – ranging from chickens to jars of jam – that is sold to people in their own area.

State agriculture officials have expressed reservations about the ordinances.