Tell us about your farm.
On our farm, we raise corn, wheat, rye and soybeans that we deliver to local grain mills. We also raise green beans and edamame beans for Hanover Foods. Our farm is a family farm partnership with my husband, Jim, and his brother, Ward. Our two sons, Mike and Steve, are also involved in the farm. Our farm is called Drue Chapin and Sons LLC.
You are involved in the Farmer’s Care Program. What do you find interesting about that program?
I find this program very interesting because it reaches many people who are not involved in farming. It shows that farmers and Farm Bureau are very caring.
What does Columbia County Farm bureau do to participate in Farmer’s Care?
We donate to the Ronald McDonald House in Danville. We also have donated to EOS Therapeutic Riding Center, which is a great organization that helps people with disabilities through horseback riding. We also have donated to local food banks and helped with distributing food.
Farmers in your area have made a point of building relationships with the General Assembly. Why do you think this is important?
I think this is very important. We need to educate our representatives on the issues that will affect us as farmers. A good example is the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation. If a representative had listened to certain groups present on WOTUS and thought ‘this sounds great’ without hearing Farm Bureau’s perspective, it would have been devastating to agriculture. This is just one example.
What motivates you to stay involved on the county board?
I have learned so much as a Columbia County Farm Bureau Board member. We have so many great people involved in many areas of the Farm Bureau who are very passionate in educating people about agriculture.
Are you optimistic about the future of agriculture?
I am optimistic but with reservations. We need to get more young people involved as the average age of farmers in Pennsylvania is 57. We need to educate people on the safety of GMOs, pesticides, animal facilities, and other issues. I think things like buying local and other programs are great for agriculture. The Ag Promotion Committee, Educator’s Ag Institute, Mobile Ag Lab and the Ag Literacy programs are great ways to promote agriculture.
Lastly, why are you a Farm Bureau member?
I am a Farm Bureau member because I really believe in this organization. I believe that without the county Farm Bureaus, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau Federation, agriculture would really suffer. I really enjoy being involved. I read the AFBF Farm-tastic book ‘Before We Eat: From Farm to Table’ to a group of first graders. Their interest and questions were so awesome. Educating the next generation is so important to the continuation of agriculture.