Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, April 23, 1994, Image 28

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    A2B-Lancaster Famnnp, Saturday, April 23, 1994
(Continued from Pago A 1)
been found to not be up to the chal
lenge of animal agriculture, and
some of the statements that have
been made by animal activists,”
Curtis said. “This bill attempts to
bring them in and hold them to
their false statements.
‘The generic laws on the books
in several states have not proven to
be very effective, and there is a
move by several national commod
ity organizations to try to see state
laws enacted that will make it pos
sible to be more ( specific about dis
paragement of agricultural
Tt is very well known that agri
culture has been hurt in the veal
industry that came under the ons
laught of criticism about IS years
ago in the U.S. Beginning about
rive years ago, veal began to feel
the real impact. The way the
American veal industry has been
able to maintain stability has been
by taking advantage of the export
market. The domestic demand for
special fed veal has really gone
down, probably as a direct result of
false statements that have been
made about animal production.
“We believe all agriculture is
vulnerable, and we think it is a real
threat to the vitality of agriculture
and animal agriculture. That’s why
we are very glad to see this legisla
tive effort,” Curtis said. “We ate
pleased to see Representative Mill
er bring this bill to the Pennsylva
nia legislature, and we hope it will
Miller said that after only one
week of circulation, 20 bi-partisan
co-sponsors have already come
forth for the bill. In addition to the
Grange, other organizations listed
as supporting the legislation were
the Pennsylvania Livestock Asso
ciation; Pennsylvania Dairymen’s
Association; Pennsylvania Poultry
Federation, and Pennsylvania for
the Responsible Use of Animals.
The bill would make individuals
who make false statements against
food and other commodities finan
cially liable for those remarks.
“We introduced this legislation
because unfounded claims are
being made by non-scientific
groups that lead to economic harm
to farmers and other producers,”
Miller said. “Farmers constantly
need to defend allegations that
their products are in some way
harmful to consumers. This bill
was introduced because agricultur
al and aquacultural products and
commodities constitute an impor
tant and significant portion of the
state economy.
“Agriculture is our number one
industry, but some people don’t
realize it. What we envision hap
pening is that before people blat
antly make a statement without
sound scientific substantiation,
they will have to research their
facts. And, they are going to be
more careful about making damag
ing claims. The bill is about
responsibility,” Miller said.
Gordon Hiller, State Grange
president, said an anti
disparagement law has been
passed in several other ag-oriented
states, and he urged members of
Pennsylvania’s general assembly
to enact a law here, too.
“The vitality of Pennsylvania’s
commodities is crucial to the eco
nomic stability and continued
growth of the Commonwealth”
Hiller said. “False, uninformed or
unsubstantiated disparaging state
ments only serve to damage our
credibility and needlessly erode
consumer confidence.”
Disparagement in the bill means
Agriculture Fights Back On False Claims
the publication to a third party of a
false factual statement that con
cerns the plaintiffs specific per
ishable agricultural food product
or commodity and clearly imputes
the safety of the product or is
intended to cause harm to the plain
tiff s pecuniary interest or should
reasonably been recognized that it
was likely to do so. In addition,
statements made with actual
malice or known false reckless dis
regard of the truth are covered.
Perishable food is any agricul
tural or aquacultural food product
which is sold on distributed in a
form that will perish beyond mark
etability within a short period of
time is included, as is agricultural
or aquacultural practice used in the
production of such a product or
commodity. On a question from
this reporter. Miller said legal
council believes the bill would help
with false accusations made
against accepted production prac
tices on individual farms. Individu
als, companies, and associations
have recourse in the bill.
Brenda Shambaugh, legislative
director, introduced other major
Grange legislative initiatives that
were to be presented at the legisla
tive dinner later in the day. A brief
summary of these initiatives are as
HB 2202 (et al) Local Tax
Reform - The Grange endorses
legislation that requires less
reliance on property tax and more
emphasis on equal tax. The
Grange also supports more local
control on the tax formula because
one tax base is different than
another across the state. Both the
Senate and House have their local
tax reform packages. Both ver
sions are in the Senate with the
House passing its version earlier.
We support the House version, but
want to make it clear that it must
stay revenue neutral and reduce
property taxes.
HD 398 Contract Managers -
The Bill passed the House and is
in the Senate Education Commit
tee. Our policy to support the bill
came from our last convention.
The bill allows school districts to
hire contract managers who assist
in construction projects. They do
not work on commission like a
general contractor so there is no
incentive to cut comers. The man
ager is the person or group who
supervise the work from start to
finish to determine the best and
most cost effective job. We know
of several school districts who
have used contract managers and
have saved thousands.
HB 2651 Humane Agents -
Requires all humane agents to go
through a PA Department of Agri
culture program before they are
allowed to investigate a farm
related complaint. There was a
problem in Fayette County where
the humane agent came on the
farm and was unfamiliar with ani
mal husbandry practices. The per
son was, unfortunately, argumen
tative and caused a public outcry.
The bill is in the House Agricul
ture Committee and there was a
hearing on April 15, 1994. The
Grange testified in favor of the
HB 2520 Farmland Preserva
tion • The House Agriculture
Committee passed several bills to
better assist farmers who want to
participate in the program. The
farmland preservation program is
a way for the Commonwealth to
save prime farmland by purchas
ing the easement of development
rights from the farmer.
The most significant bill is HB
2520 because the committee lis
tened to Grange testimony at a
hearing last summer. HB 2520
reduces the acreage needed to cre
ate an agricultural security area
from 500 to 250 acres. Farmers
who want to participate in the
farmland preservation program
must belong to an agricultural sec
urity area. We have found that
some farmers in a developing area
are finding it difficult to find 500
acres in the area.
By reducing the acreage, it will
make it easier to form an ASA and
consequently make it easier to
participate in the farmland preser
vation program.
State Budget - The Grange is in
a unique position of being pleased
with the governor’s proposal -
except for the agricultural
research line item at Penn State
University. PSU does incredible
research for agriculture at their
College of their Agricultural
The research benefits all those
who eat food, not only those who
produce it. From less costly pro
duction, to higher yields, to food
safety, it all comes down to
research. To cut this imperative
line item is a travesty.
SB 351 - Water Resource
Management - The Grange
would like to see significant
changes to the current draft of this
legislation. The current bill is
about water quantity, not water
quality. It’s a comprehensive
program of water resource conser
vation in case of a drought Cur
rently, DER is responsible for pre
paring a state water plan. There
would be a state water resource
advisory committee to advise
DER on development of the plan.
DER would be required to
establish and maintain a statewide
inventory and record water usage.
While we think DER should
accomplish an inventory, we
believe the plan should be created
on the local level. Local commit
tees should be comprised of lead
ers, businesses, agricultural rep
resentatives and local conserva
tion district directors. We support
the idea that eight regional boards
should be created, which, in turn,
would be combined at the state
level to make the state water
resource plan.
The bill is currently in the
Senate Environmental Resources
SB 955 Deep Mine Mediation
- (Passed Senate: currently in
House Conservation Committee)
This bill, supported by the
Grange, provides protections
against underground mining. Cur
rently, there are no protections
provided by law against mine sub
sidence for structures built after
1966. This bill states that coal
companies would be able to long
wall mine, but they have to pro
vide compensation or replacement
of any damage they cause. There
is what is called a rebuttable pre
sumption clause in the bill that
states that coal companies must
provide their mining efforts did
not cause the damage rather than
the landowner proving the damage
is a result of the mining.
H 81353 Wetlands - (In House
Conservation Committee)
Because farmers must derive their
livelihood from the land, farmers
must be compensated to equal the
loss in value of acres set aside for
the preservation of wetlands. A
fair wetland protection program
must take the financial hardship of
a farmer into consideration.
HB 1353 clearly identifies a
wetland and establishes standards
for the regulations of those wet
lands. It allows for normal farm-
ing practices to be accomplished
on wetlands. It also classifies wet
lands based on their importance to
the area.
Underground Storage Tank
Superfund - As a result of recent
federal law. a storage tank super
fund was created in Pennsylvania.
An annual assessment has been
used to fund the superfund for all
owners storing diesel fuel and
heating oil. Because the assess
ment is done by tank size rather
than quantity used, many fanners
arc being assessed the same fees
per tank as many commercial fuel
For farmers, the costs could be
hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We are working with the General
Assembly to determine what can
be done legislatively to resolve the
USDA Restructuring - The
Pennsylvania State Grange advo
cates moving food welfare prog
rams. rural housing and other non
farm public service programs
administered by the USDA under
one agency like the Department of
Public Welfare. The Grange sup
ports co-located service centers
under a 30-30-30 formula where a
minimum of 30 farmers would not
have to travel more than 30 miles
need more than 30 minutes’
time to get to a service center. The
Grand backs converting the Soil
Conservation Service to the
National Resource Conservation
Service, but feels the function of
SCS should continue to be techni
cal with priority given to farmers.
Beef Expo Posts
Sale Results
HARRISBURG (Dauphin Co.)
The 1994 Pennsylvania Beef
Expo breed sales, held for the first
time at the Farm Show Complex
in Harrisburg, grossed $190,560
from 153 lots of Angus, Charolais,
Limousin, Polled Hereford, and
Simmental. A special American
Highland show was also held.
The Angus high-selling bull
was a one-half interest in GS Dus
ter 301 C, a 2-23-93 son of Ginger
Hill Duster 89, consigned by
Stockdale Farm, Dayton, and pur
chased by Boart’s Farms, Ford
City, for $3,000. South Branch
Blackbird 002, a 1-29-90 heifer
and her heifer calf, sold for $3,200
to Jeffrey Keifer, Bangor. A Twin
Oaks consignment. Twin Oaks
Blackcap 2031, born 9-25-91,
with her heifer calf, sold for $3OOO
to Jason Slaughter, Mission, S.D.
Charolais high-selling lot was
Rainbow’s Jewel 428 by BR Pros
pector W 660, purchased by Dale
Card, Richmond, Ind., for $1,650.
Rainbow’s Jewel 378, sired by BR
Prospector W 660 and consigned
by Rainbow Farm, West Tisbury,
Maine, was purchased by Paul D.
Miller, Spring Grove, for $l,OOO.
The top-selling Limousin was a
1-16-93 bull. GPFF Bear Cat,
sired by NMCC Polled Black
Powder from the Green Pastures/
Fairland Farms, Louisville, Ohio
for $2,700 to Pleasant Valley
Farm, Brookville, Md. Second
top-selling lot was GPFF Miss
Melanie LKCC Black Nugget
906 U purchased by Max Bing
man, Kreamer, for $l,BOO.
In the Polled Hereford sale, a
3- bull, Salunga Player 50C,
sired by Louada 800 Sylvester
244, consigned by Salunga Acres,
Ml Joy was purchased by Scenic
View Farm. Manns Choice, for
$3,100. CS Miss Ist Vision, a
4- female with calf at side
Health Care - The Grange sup
ports freedom of choice for medi
cal providers and facilities; uni
form fee schedules, benefits and
eligibility requirements, including
coverage for in-home care. Health
care that maintains existing pre
ferred or association group health
care plans; and contributions base
d on ability to pay.
Clean Water Act - Congress is
expected to rewrite the Clean
Water Act of 1972 as emphasis
shifts from point sources to non
point sources of pollution. The
Grange urges Congress to main
tain full funding of up to $4OO mil
lion, to be spent with a state’s
matching funds, on programs to
provide educational and technical
assistance to address non-point
problems. Full funding, the
Grange believes must be a priority
in any Clean Water Act reauthori
zation. Pollution control programs
must be based on voluntary,
locally-designed programs that
meet the voluntary cooperation of
farmers and landowners to use
best management practices. The
program should be administered
by a single federal agency and
must protect the rights of farmers
and landowners.
Prior to the evening banquet a
forum for the candidates for gov
ernor was held. In addition work
shops on various topics including
local tax reform, environmental
issues and health care were held.
The PA State Grange represents
35,000 members.
from the Stockdale Farm, Dayton,
sold for $2,750.
Two Polled Hereford flush
cows from (he Circle B Farm,
Dillsburg, were consigned. One
fourth interest and no possession
of SBF Royal Red Rose 8407 sold
for $l,OOO to Cranberry's Hidden
Acres, Zellienople, and one-sixth
interest and no possession in SBF
Royal Gypsy (full value $4,000)
sold to Susquehannock Farm,
Sunbury for $BOO (full value
In the Simmental sale, DVF
Ms. Bloomin, a 6-1-93 Polled
heifer consigned by Dunkard Val
ley Farm, Dallastown, sold for
$2,850 to Troy Gelsinger, Wer
nersville. A 3-20-93 heifer, Cher
okee Black Miss, from the herd of
Cherokee Fur Co., Hopewood,
sold for $1,850 to Dwayne Amoss
of Lemon Bridge, Md.
The Beef Expo also included an
educational program emphasizing
grazing management, handling
newly arrived feeder cattle, forage
storage and feeding methods, use
of growth promotant implants,
an(T legislation affecting animal
agriculture. The expanded prog
ram for juniors included a
170-head junior heifer and steer
show and an eight-stop Skillathon
in which junior cattlemen demon
strated their skills and knowledge
about a variety of important con
temporary beef cattle manage
ment areas.
The juniors also competed in a
special obstacle course competi
tion which involved leading their
calves through water, into and out
of a trailer and a blocking chute,
and several other exercises.
More than 200 juniors partici
pated in one or more of the junior
events. The juniors were treated to
a pizza party courtesy of the Penn
sylvania Cattlemen’s Association.