Change and progress focus of bureau


HERSHEY, Pa. – Several hundred farmers from across Pennsylvania attended the 56th annual meeting of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center Nov. 13-15, to set policy for the statewide organization on issues affecting farm and rural families.
Dollars and cents. President Carl T. Shaffer said farm enterprises in Pennsylvania must continue to adapt to new technology, farming practices and changing market conditions to remain viable in the future.
“Putting more dollars in the pockets of farmers remains the most important overall objective of our organization. Virtually all Farm Bureau activities should be tied to that crucial goal,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer cited examples of how the cost of equipment, energy and labor have significantly increased over the past 20 years, while the amount of money a farmer receives for his products has basically stayed the same.
Activists. Shaffer says farmers will expand efforts to work with lawmakers and the nonfarm public to increase the understanding of agricultural issues and strengthen the economy of rural communities.
“Farmers need to seek election to political office and appointments to key positions at all levels of government to ensure that the concerns of farmers are heard and that decisions that impact our lives are based on factual information,” added Shaffer.
Shaffer also looked back at some significant Farm Bureau accomplishments over the past year, including the enactment of legislation that restores protections against the misuse of eminent domain and the passage of an eco-terrorism law that raises the penalties for intimidation or trespass by activist groups against farm enterprises.
“Although we have accomplished many of our goals over the past year, there are many challenges ahead. For example, we must persist with our efforts to achieve meaningful property tax reduction for farmers in Pennsylvania,” concluded Shaffer.
Local affairs. At the same meeting, Bill Bayne, of Susquehanna County, was named the 2006 recipient of the Distinguished Local Affairs Leader Award.
The award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual county Farm Bureau leader whose local affairs program greatly benefits the county Farm Bureau and its members.
Bayne is credited with spearheading several improvements, including: working with PennDOT and local governments to improve roads and bridges to resolve the long-standing issue of farmers having difficulty moving farm trucks and products in and out of farms; guiding the county local affairs program through several tax and land use issues resulting in improvements to the Clean & Green program; and convincing all six school districts in the county to establish tax study commissions.

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