— Karl Eisenhauer, President of the Wayne/Pike Farm Bureau and Tom Daschke, Legislative Committee Chairman represented the Wayne/ Pike County Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C. recently.
They were joined by several hundred other Pennsylvania Farm Bureau members as part of a two-day National Legislative Conference. While in Washington D.C., Farm Bureau members met with their congressional representatives to discuss current issues facing the farmers in their districts.
Eisenhauer and Daschke joined a delegation of farmers from other counties in northeast Pennsylvania to meet with Senator Bob Casey and Representative Tom Marino. Some of the issues discussed were the Farm Bill, Immigration Reform, Definition of Waterways and the Clean Water Act Permit for the application of pesticides.
The Farm Bureau position on the Farm Bill is that a five-year bill is needed. That would allow farmers some certainty in making business decisions as they plan for the future.
Immigration Reform needs to include an Agricultural Worker component to allow farmers access to a legal and reliable workforce for seasonal harvests. Without these guest workers, crop harvests are threatened as American workers are unwilling to perform these difficult tasks.
Perhaps the two most important issues to us in Wayne and Pike counties are the Definition of Waterways and the Clean Water Act Permit for the application of pesticides.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a "guidance document" that defines waterways as "all waters" such as farm ponds, streams, ditches, culverts and ground water. The Farm Bureau opposes this document and prefers the EPA's authority to extend to "navigable" waters only.
Farmers who apply pesticides to their agricultural land are already required to complete training and certification programs to insure the proper and safe use of these products. The EPA's suggestion that a permit be required is unnecessary and opposed by the Farm Bureau.
Both Eisenhauer and Daschke viewed the National Legislative Conference as successful and productive. The State Legislative Conference is scheduled for March 19 in Harrisburg.