Ag Progress Days Tours Outlined

Ag Progress DaysROCK SPRINGS – An Ag Progress Days staple are the research tours ranging from habitat for deer and other wildlife to management tactics for high yielding soybeans.

Some other tours include woodlot management, stream (riparian) buffers and native prairie grasses, short rotation woody crops for biomass, Penn State’s Deer Research Center; pasture management, American Chestnut Foundation plantings, etc.

In addition, a tour of the High Tunnel Research & Education Facility demonstrates current production systems and horticultural crops that can be produced in high tunnels.  Complete list of tours is found at http://agsci.psu.edu/apd/events/tours

Regulatory Update

  • Regulations graphicThe meeting of the DEP Agriculture Advisory Board originally set for August 20 was cancelled. Next meeting is October 15 in Harrisburg. Details:  Tom Juengst 717/783-7577 (tjuengt@pa.gov)
  • On July 26, the Pa. Bulletin published a listing of how much money each county receives for dirt, gravel, and low-volume road maintenance. These amounts were determined by the State Conservation Commission at its May 13 meeting. Amounts ranged from $144,714 (Union County) to $1.478 million (Bradford)  Details: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-30/1610.html

Pechart Recognized, Huber Re-elected

pechart_bioPSCFO Recognizes Pechart

PSCFO’s June Council meeting recognized former PDA official Michael Pechart who served under Governors of both parties for eleven years and who retired from PDA earlier this year to take a private sector position. He was a huge resource for PDA and for the entire Agricultural Community.

Huber Re-Elected to PSU Board

In addition, Immediate Past PSCFO President Betsy Huber was re-elected to the
huberPenn State Board of Trustees. Congrats Betsy!

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.

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/

Three Key Opportunities to Provide Input

  • First is March 17 at PDA. It is a listening session and features Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to explain the agency’s thinking on the preventative controls for animal feed and a forum to discuss the Rule and its impact on businesses. Details: March 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Room 309, 2301 North Cameron Street in Harrisburg. RSVPs go to 717-787-3418, jabiery@pa.gov You may view the proposed animal feed rule at www.fda.gov by searching “FSMA proposed rules”. Last year, both PSCFO and PDA submitted comments criticizing the FDA Rule’s regulatory burden on farmers.
  • Second event is March 21, the Secretary’s quarterly conference call with PSCFO Council members. This allows PSCFO members to better understand PDA programs, projects, and priorities. It also provides an opportunity to communicate with top policy officials. Details: March 21 at 1:00 p.m. Call 1-855-750-1027 and use PIN number: 073088.
  • The third is the PSCFO Council meeting March 31 at the State Capitol where you will be able to interact with both legislators and PDA officials. If you have not yet RSVPd, please do so.
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