PSCFO Annual Meeting Re-Cap

Elections:

Re-elected were officers Brian Snyder (PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture) as President, Eugene Richard (Mushroom Farmers of PA) as Vice President, and Jeff Nogan (PA Cattlemen’s Association) as Secretary-Treasurer. Re-elected was Gregg Robertson (PA Landscape & Nursery Association) to a second term.

Two new Board members are:

  • Carl Meiss (PA State Grange)
  • Hannah Smith- Brubaker (PA Farmers’ Union)

In other actions:

  • Briefings from PDA confirmed that the FDA proposed Food Safety Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act would be re-drafted by the Federal agency in great part because of advocacy by PDA, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and farm groups such as PA Vegetable Growers Association, PA Farm Bureau, PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and PSCFO. There is a separate animal feed regulation also being considered by FDA and PennAg briefed the Board and Council on what it seeks to do. One issue is that a farm is defined as a facility which means that the Food and drug Administration would have authority to inspect and impose sanctions on almost every PA farm.
  • The Cornucopia Taste of PA Reception drew a record number of exhibitors from farm groups and a record number of approximately 100 legislators.

The annual meeting of the PSCFO in Harrisburg resulted in significant front-page publicity in Lancaster Farming magazine. http://www.lancasterfarming.com/-State-Ag-Council-Celebrates-Political-Trifecta-#.U0-1VKKg4k_ This underscores the increased visibility and advocacy of PSCFO and it is something of which we all can all be proud.

Three PSU Trustee Candidates at PSCFO

The Council voted unanimously to rate all three Penn State Trustee candidates as qualified. Two are incumbents seeking re-election, past PSCFO President Betsy Huber and current Trustees Chairman Keith Masser. The third candidate is former state representative Jess Stairs (R-Westmoreland). All three made presentations to the Board.
If you would like copies of their bios, please contact PSCFO at vince@vphillipsassoc.com.

Senate Passes Marcellus Landowner Protection Bills

On April 7, the PA Senate passed three bills designed to protect Marcellus Shale
landowners’ rights. Sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), SB 1236 allows
royalty interest owners the opportunity to inspect gas company records to verify proper
payment. SB 1237 prohibits a gas company from retaliating against a royalty lease
owner by terminating the lease if the landowner questions payment accuracy. SB 1238
requires a gas company to release its interest once the lease terminates – similar to what a
mortgage company does when the home loan is paid in full.

Court Rules on Biosolids Issue

An April 15 decision by the PA Superior Court (Gilbert v. Synagro) remanded the case
back to a York County court to resolve whether the application of biosolids is “a normal
agricultural operation” and entitled to protection under the Right to Farm Act and ACRE.
Also, did the claims of neighbors about contaminated water and solids being deposited
onto their property meet the criteria to be called a “trespass”? A link to the opinion
follows: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Superior/out/J-A32014-13o.pdf?cb=2

Regulatory Update for April 2014

• On April 12, the PDA published rules under the Food Safety Act and Food
Employee Certification Act to regulate the certifications of food employees. In
the process, outside government comments were received from the PA Catholic
Conference and PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Details:
http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-15/762.html

• PDA published a proposed Rule that would allow it to contract with other
agencies or vendors to administer pesticide applicators’ examinations in addition
to the monthly PDA exams. These outside entities would be able to charge a fee
for this service. The proposed Rule has been sent to the House and Senate
Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committees for review.

The Day/Week/Month Is:

  • The PA House April 9 passed two environmental resolutions. House Resolution 764 (Marsico-R-Dauphin) recognized April 25 as Arbor Day promoting the value of trees to the environment.
  • House Resolution 765 (Miller-R-York) encourages Pennsylvanians to observe the 44th Earth Day on April 22.
  • April 13-19 was Rural Road Safety Week
  • PDA announced that April is invasive pest month and the April 11 PDA Newsletter provided a USDA link, http://hungrypests.com/