Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740 • Email • @pfbmediaone
For Immediate Release: March 3, 2017
(Washington D.C.) – More than 150 members of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) traveled to Washington D.C. seeking support from Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation on critical issues impacting agriculture. The farmers met with lawmakers and legislative staff to discuss a wide variety of topics, including regulatory reform, tax reform, immigration reform, the 2018 Farm Bill and the importance of agricultural trade.
“It’s vitally important for policymakers in Washington D.C. to hear from farmers about timely issues affecting food production, the environment and the national economy, especially with a new Congress and the election of a new President,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “Our farmers are promoting changes that will reduce or remove obstacles that threaten their livelihood and the prospect of the next generation working on the family farm.”
Farm Bureau is seeking revisions to the regulatory process that would require government agencies to use sound science, consider the cost and benefits of their proposals to stakeholders, limit the deference granted by courts to an agency’s interpretation of regulations, create a minimum comment period for proposed rules and forbid agencies from engaging in social media campaigns designed to influence public comments.
“It’s unfair and illegal for government agencies to engage in social media practices that shape or manipulate public comments to support the agencies point of view on a proposed rule or regulation,” added Ebert. “A prime example of this practice occurred during the public comment period of the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. After a thorough review, the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law with its (Thunderclap) social media campaign and its grassroots lobbying campaign involving WOTUS.”
Pennsylvania farmers also talked to lawmakers about the importance of establishing and maintaining strong trade agreements with neighboring countries and countries across the globe.
“Trade agreements that reduce or eliminate costly tariffs on U.S. agricultural products ultimately put money in the pockets of farm families in Pennsylvania and across America. We are asking Congress and the Trump administration to begin work immediately on developing new markets for American-produced food and other agriculture goods, while also protecting and advancing agriculture interests across the world,” concluded Ebert.
Other key issues discussed by farmers with Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation included the need to enact immigration reform legislation that results in a legal and adequate workforce which strengthens, not threatens, farm businesses; tax reform to address the financial challenges faced by farmers from capital gains and federal estate taxes; and the creation of a new Farm Bill that focuses on the importance of maintaining and strengthening risk management tools, such as federal crop insurance and commodity programs.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of nearly 62,000 farm and rural families,
representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.