Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 21, 1995, Image 19

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    Young Farmers Thank Sponsors
CAMP HILL (Cumberland
Co.) The delegation of 11
enterprising young farmers who
participated in Pennsylvania Farm
Bureau’s first International study
tour wish to express their appreci
ation to their tour sponsors.
The trip was made possible
through the generous support from
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and
contributions from sponsors con
tacted by the young farmers. The
following agribusinesses and indi
viduals contributed donations to
help sponsor the international
tour: Agway Member Relations,
Agway Feed Region #7, and
Agway Lebanon Petroleum, Ani
mal Medic, Atlantic Dairy Coop
erative, Berks County Farm
Bureau, Elverson National Bank,
Fisher & Thompson, Ford New
Holland, Inc., Hoffman Seeds,
Inc., Keystone Farm Credit,
Meridian Bank, Nationwide Insur
ance Agency Manager Hugh
McGinely and agent Kathy
Marinkov, Reading Bone Fertiliz
er, Sire Power, Inc., Star Silo,
Wampler-Longacre, Fred Weaver,
Wenger’s Feed Mill, Inc., Willow
Creek Animal Hospital, and the
York Bank & Trust Company.
The purpose of the 11-day farm
tour was a comparative analysis of
global agriculture, exploring agri
cultural production, global mar
kets, international trade relation
ships, agricultural education, and
the challenges and obstacles fac
ing farmers around the world. The
10-day trip included tours of Ger
many, Austria, Liechtenstein and
Switzerland, including a two-day
visit by each couple on a southern
German host farm.
■Tour participants included
Rebekah Gross, Donald and
Joanne Stoltzfus, Brian and Fay
Dietrich, David and Beth Hart
man, Ralph and Crystal Moyer,
Steve and Bonnie Wenger and
staff persons Rod and Bonnie
“The one item that made the
biggest impression on us when
comparing European farmers to
their American counterparts was
not the differences between the
two, but the similarities,” said par
ticipant David Hartman. “Their
concern, and ours, is maintaining a
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way of life while achieving a com
fortable standard of living. Also,
of keen interest to both groups of
European and American farmers is
being able to pass their farms to
future generations.”
The most prominent difference
between U.S. and European agri
culture is free enterprise vs. gov
ernment control. Farm subsidies,
or financial support from the gov
ernment, can account for up to 77
percent of farm income in some
European countries.
“Throughout the countries we
visited, the programs in effect are
double the price to their farmers as
compared to the price the U.S.
farmers receive for our milk and
meat,” Hartman said.
The milk price in these coun
tries would range from $23 to
$2B/cwt. compared to $l3/cwt. in
Pennsylvania. According to the
PFB delegation, the European
farmers were shocked to the point
of disbelief when American farm
prices were quoted.
Another difference noted by
the PFB delegation is the small
size of the farms visited. "The
average acreage of the farms' we
visited was approximately 50
acres and was being heavily subsi
dized by the government,” accord
ing to Brian Dietrich. One reason
for the large agricultural subsidies
is tourism. European governments
are “farmer-friendly” and very
committed to keeping their small
farms intact, to the point of finan
cially supporting them.
“Switzerland wants to keep its
land under cultivation for esthetic
value and the Swiss government is
willing to make direct payments to
farmers in an effort to keep them
on the land,” said David Hartman.
Land in the countries visited4s
very expensive. Prices for land in
Germany can reach into the ranges
of $15,000/acre for farm land and
$40,000/acre for residential land.
According to Fay Dietrich, as
many as 50 percent of the farms
ran a bed and breakfast in their
homes. In Switzerland, however,
the inheritance tax is very low and
the law states that all children
must be treated in an equal man
ner, said Dietrich.
“Only fanners could go so far
from home and still find so much
time to talk about the troubles and
triumphs of our operations back
home. It is difficult to express the
understanding one feels when talk
ing to one of these European farmers
and the feeling that we are of one
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Laneaatar Fuming, Saturday, January 21, 1995-Al9
Prior to going on the Young Farmers and Ranchers
International Study Tour, YF&R chairperson Becky Gross,
center, and tour coordinator Ralph Moyer, right, reviewed
the trip itinerary with Gene Hemphill, left, industry affairs
manager at Ford New Holland, Inc. The farm machinery
manufacturer was one of the nearly two dozen agribusi
nesses and individuals that contributed donations to help
sponsor the YF&R tour.
farmers,” said David Hartman.
According to Ralph Moyer,
“All members of the tour group
feel that this International Study
Program needs to be continued
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and enhanced on a regular basis in
order to broaden the knowledge of
other Young Farmers and lead
agriculture into the next century.”