WASHINGTON — 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.
PFB President Rick Ebert said it’s important for policy makers to hear from farmers about issues that affect food production, the environment and the economy.
“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,” he said.
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.
Ebert said an example of the unfair use of the social media by agencies was demonstrated 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,” he said.
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,” said Ebert.
Other key issues discussed included immigration reform, tax reform, and the creation of a new Farm Bill that maintains and strengthens risk management tools, such as federal crop insurance and commodity programs.