HARRISBURG – The PA State Council of Farm Organizations meeting for the fall has been re-set to October 27 with a Board meeting at 11:00 a.m. (NOTE: This is a change.) and the Council meeting at its regular time of 1:00 p.m. Location is the PA Department of Agriculture, 2301 Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110.
Topics to be discussed by the Council include:
- Invasive Species (Feral Hogs)
- EPA proposed definition of Water Rule
- Update on Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Rule.
Additionally, since for all purposes, the legislative session will be over October 15, expect interesting conversation on what the 2013-14 session of the General Assembly meant for PA Agriculture. Please RSVP to 717/232-9665 or to Manager@PSCFO.com by October 17 regarding your plans to attend.
HARRISBURG – On August 14 at 10:00 a.m. in the Red Barn, PDA Secretary Greig has invited members of the Pa. State Council of Farm Organizations to participate in a Town Hall meeting. This will be an open dialogue between the Department and attendees.
Among other things, discussions will include FDA regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), implementation of the Farm Bill, the PDA Budget for the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, and a host of other regulatory topics.
Other topics of interest to PSCFO members such as the EPA’s proposed water definition and the feral hog issue may also be addressed.
RSVPs are needed because of limited seating. Ben Junkin 717/787-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
• 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:
• 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.