PSCFO CONCLUDES FOOD SAFETY WORKSHOPS
On March 1, the last of four workshops was held in Bedford County to inform produce growers on how to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s regulatory requirements. The other three were held in Tamaqua (Schuylkill County), Kutztown (Berks County), and Windsor (York County). Presenters were from the PA Department of Agriculture who walked growers through areas such as worker safety & hygiene, use of water, risk of animal contamination, and ways to avoid contamination during storage. Statistically, 46% of food sickness incidents requiring medical treatment and/or hospitalization have been traced back to farms.
In addition to farmers, numbers of legislators and staff also attended. Attending were legislators Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, Senator Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill), Reps. Gary Day and Dave Maloney (R-Berks), Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), and Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset/Bedford). Staff represented the following legislators: Rep. Judy Ward (R-Blair); Reps. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York); Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh); Senator Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria/Bedford/Clearfield); and Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), Majority Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
DEPARTMENT & COMMODITY MARKETING
The PA Department of Agriculture announced March 3 that the PA Wine Marketing & Research Program Board is soliciting proposals on marketing and research projects to increase quality profitability, production and sale of wines. Applications are due April 20, 2018 to PA Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Commodity Board Grant Program, 2301 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg, PA 17110. Details: www.pabulletin.com
March 20, 2018 is the last postmarked date for referendum ballots on continuation of the PA Vegetable Marketing & Research Program to be submitted. Eligible voters are vegetable producers who grew at least one acre of vegetables in 2017’s growing period or grew vegetables in greenhouses located in PA with total space of 1,000 square feet or more. Voting began March 5.
AG DEPARTMENT PLANS SEVEN REGULATIONS
The PA Department of Agriculture plans to issue seven regulations in the first half of 2018:
- Conservation Easement Program Contact: Douglas Wolfgang 717-783-3167
- PA Preferred Contact: Laura England 717-783-8462
- PA Vegetable Marketing Contact: Bill Troxell 717-694-3596
- Rabies Prevention & Control Contact: Nanette Hanshaw, DVM 717-783-6677
- Kennel Canine Health Contact: Kristin Donmoyer 717-705-8896
- Weights, Standards & Measures Contact: Walt Remmert 717-787-6772
- (Raw) Milk Sanitation Contact: Lydia Johnson 717-787-4315
BUDGET HEARINGS CONCLUDE THIS WEEK
The annual House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings on the State Budget conclude this week. Of key interest is the Governor’s Office and Office of the Budget on March 8 for both House and Senate Appropriations Committees where scrutiny may center on from where the revenue will come to fund the State Budget. PA Cable Network (https://pcntv.com/schedule/ ) airs most of the hearings. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding testified before both committees. Thanks to the Senate Majority Communications Office, following is a link to the Senate Appropriations hearing on February 28. https://pasen.wistia.com/medias/h86ncu5jfq The hearing touched on an array of topics ranging from hemp to the Farm Show lease-lease-back (equity loan).
- Minority House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Bill Keller (D-Phila.) is not seeking re-election. This means that both Majority and Minority Chairs of this committee will be new in 2019.
- Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh)has dropped his congressional plans as did because of the PA Supreme Court imposed redistricting and is running for re-election.
- Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) withdrew her bid for the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is now running for Congress in the redrawn 4th congressional district.
PA SPECIAL ELECTION GARNERS NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
- March 13 is the date of the special congressional election in southwest PA’s 18th district, pitting PA House Representative Rick Saccone (Republican) against Democrat Conor Lamb. Saccone was elected to the PA House in 2010. Lamb was an attorney with the Marines and former Assistant District Attorney in Pittsburgh during the Obama Administration. This is seen as a referendum on Trump and GOP control of Congress. Notables such as former Vice President Biden and President Trump are actively campaigning in the district.
USDA RENEWS CENSUS REQUEST
Even though the initial deadline was February 6, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) asks farmers who have not completed the Census of Agriculture to do so. Please respond to www.agcounts.usda.gov or call King Whetstone at 717-787-3904 with questions.
FARM LINK PLANS SUCCESSION WORKSHOP in Chambersburg March 8. The Farm Succession and Transition Workshop will help farmers to pass on the business to the next generation. Farm Link and partner AgChoice Farm Credit are both PSCFO members. Details: Michelle Kirk 717-705-2121 firstname.lastname@example.org