Recently, the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro Ag) and the Pennsylvania Farmers Union (PFU) held a dairy rally at the Roseville Grange in Brookville, Pa. (Jefferson County).
It was rewarding to witness two organizations standing side by side for the benefit of all dairy farmers. My husband and I have been members of PFU for many years and we are very aware of the legislative work they have done in Harrisburg, Pa.
I had heard some about Pro Ag, but I knew very little about their policies or things they have done. I met the manager of Pro Ag when I was in Washington, D.C., with the Farmers Union this past September. I was very impressed with his concern and dedication for all dairy farmers.
He explained S-1645 (commonly known as the Specter-Casey Bill) to me and I soon became a strong advocate for the bill.
I decided that a dairy rally was needed in Jefferson County. Our area is very aware of the critical problems facing all dairy farmers, but we are very much in the dark regarding workable solutions to the crisis.
Arden Tewksbury from Pro Ag gave a very interesting in-depth explanation of S-1645. His presentation was something our area needed.
S-1645 does adopt a new pricing formula for milk based on the dairy farmers cost of production. The bill also contains a very workable and understandable milk supply-management program.
Also, the bothersome imports of casein and milk protein concentrates are addressed. Larry Breech, president of PFU, was present and indicated PFU’s support for S-1645.
Breech also indicated that the entire board of directors of the National Farmers Union had voted to support the bill. It was obvious that nearly everyone at the meeting was supporting S-1645.
As I said earlier, our area appeared to be immune from this type of information. Yup, everyone knew the problems, but we were not aware of the solutions. Now we are. Yes, we are strongly behind S-1645. Several farmers spoke at the meeting acknowledging how critical this crisis was on their farms.
Peter Winkley, staff member of Congressman Glenn Thompson, spoke about the activities the congressman had supported for dairy farmers. Earlier in the morning my husband and I joined Tewksbury for breakfast with Congressman Thompson. We are counting on him to support the bill when it is introduced in the House of Representatives.
My husband and I are members of the Holstein Association. However, their proposal (not a bill), falls way short of the needs of dairy farmers. I would urge the Holstein people to set aside their proposal and throw their support behind S-1645. Thank you.
Rita Shaffer Brookville, Pa.