Farmers Discuss Economic Issues Confronting Agriculture
Economic issues confronting agriculture and implementation of budget appropriations from the Farm Bill are among the major issues that more than 150 Pennsylvania farmers discussed with members of Pennsylvania's Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., as part of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau's 2009 National Legislative Conference.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) members emphasized the need for Congress to resist any efforts to reopen the 2008 Farm Bill, especially at a time when farmers are struggling financially. "During discussions of the Farm Bill over the past two years when times were good, much of the talks focused on what would happen if farm prices dropped for agriculture products. That time has arrived, and Farm Bill programs are more important than ever before," said PFB President Carl Shaffer.
Farm Bureau noted that prices farmers receive for milk, corn, wheat, soybeans and other products have significantly dropped over the past few months. "Many farmers are seeing cuts of 35 percent to 60 percent for the food they produce, while production costs remain at historically high levels. Like many Americans, farm families are struggling just to pay the bills. Any proposed cuts to recently approved economic safety net funds under the Farm Bill could devastate farmers in Pennsylvania and across the nation," added Shaffer.
Meanwhile, farm labor remains another concern among Pennsylvania growers, many of whom rely on seasonal guest workers to plant and harvest crops. Farm Bureau says the lack of a solution to the immigration reform issue could place farmers in real jeopardy and also threaten the ability of consumers to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
"Farmers are seeking a consistent, adequate and legal workforce to assist them in their efforts to bring an abundant and affordable supply of fruits, vegetables and other products to consumers in Pennsylvania," concluded Shaffer.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state's largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of more than 44,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.