Various Notes

  • PDA asked gardeners to be on the lookout for Boxwood Blight, a fungal disease-causing sudden leaf loss and possible death of these popular evergreen shrubs. It has been found in nine states and in nine PA counties: Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and Warren. Those affected are asked to take samples to Extension before destroying the potentially impacted plant.
  • PSCFO member Hunger-Free PA announced that the PA Food Safety Coalition will convene October 16, 2015 in Harrisburg. Details: sachristopher@pafoodbanks.org.
  • Native Americans college students majoring in agriculture or related disciplines may be eligible for one of five $1,000 scholarships from First Nations Development Institute. Application deadline is September 30, 2015. Details: Kendall Tallmadge at 303-774-7836 or ktallmadge@firstnations.org

Cheese-Making Growing In Pennsylvania

Cheese Sue MillerCHESTER SPRINGS – Sue Miller loves hanging out in her cheese cave.

“Sometimes I get attached to certain wheels of cheese,” said Miller, co-owner of Birchrun Hills Farm, a dairy farm in Chester Springs. “And my husband says, ‘You know, it’s meant to be sold.’ ”

She knows.

Her love of cheese grew out of necessity. About nine years ago, declining milk prices and rising costs had Miller and her husband, Ken, worried they might lose the small farm they hoped one day to pass on to their two sons.

Like other small dairy operators across the country, the first-generation farmers decided they needed to innovate to survive.

Read more in the Philadelphia Inquirer …

Farmers Market Coupons Begin June 1

Farmers marketAccording to a PDA, WIC recipients and low-income senior citizens can again receive assistance to purchase fresh PA fruits and vegetables through PDA’s Bureau of Food Distribution Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

Beginning June 1, qualified recipients can sign up to receive $20 in vouchers to purchase fresh products from approved farmers. Details: 800.468.2433.

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.