Thompson and Farm Bureau President Emphasize Importance of Agriculture PA’s Economic Strength

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry, and Carl T. Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, hosted a “Barnyard Discussion” on agriculture policy during Penn State University’s Ag Progress Days.

“This is an important event that brings together folks in the agriculture community from across the Commonwealth and the country, which allows us to exchange ideas and communicate the latest developments in agriculture policy,” said Thompson. “This is not only an ideal venue to hear directly from family farmers on the challenges they are facing, but also to learn from the many industry specialists who have traveled to Penn State’s Ag Progress Days and are working on the latest technologies in production agriculture and related industries.

Thompson outlined work in Congress to reauthorize the current Farm Bill, including a two-year series of audit hearings held by his subcommittee and six others under the jurisdiction of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee before drafting new federal agriculture legislation. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the bill, H.R. 6083, July 12, and the full Senate passed its version, S. 3240, June 21. The current Farm Bill expires in September, 2012.

“Pennsylvania farm families play a vital role in contributing to the prosperity of rural communities and the state’s economy. The survival of farm families is critical as one in seven jobs in Pennsylvania is related to agriculture, while farmers spend the majority of their income in local communities,” said Shaffer.

“We appreciate the leadership role Thompson has taken in focusing on important federal policies that impact the day-to-day operations of farms. Decisions made in Washington, whether they focus on the Farm Bill or proposed regulations, can strengthen the long-term viability of farm families or devastate their future, depending on the outcome.”

Dr. Bruce McPheron, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, and George Greig, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, also participated in the discussion.

McPheron highlighted the importance of the nation’s land-grant universities, which have enabled “technological advances” through expanded research and education programs, and “a food production system that’s the envy of the world.”

Greig expressed appreciation for Thompson’s leadership in representing agricultural issues on behalf of the entire state in the U.S. House.

The “Barnyard Discussion” is in its fourth consecutive year as part of Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, which is the Commonwealth’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition.

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