Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 03, 1998, Image 24

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    A24-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, January 3, T 998
1997 Ends As Perplexing Year For Producers
(Continued from Page A 1)
Land O’Lakes), probably the big
gest story of the year was the avian
influenza (A. 1.) outbreak which
caused great concern for producers
in the state.
In mid-May. a 75-square-mile
quarantine zone was instituted at
the request of the industry to con
trol the outbreak of a non pathogen
ic form of A.I. virus. In mid-June,
Gov. Tom Ridge authorized the
state Department of Agriculture to
spend $5 million,to fight avian
At the end of July of 1997, it was
announced by the state dial the
poultry shows were cancelled at
this year’s Farm Show.
Fortunately, relying on past
experience, the outbreak was suc
cessfully controlled, and only
1.024 million birds were destroy
ed. Sixteen premises were
affected, including two in Lebanon
and 14 in Lancaster. The quaran
tine was officially lifted Nov. 10.
Yet, mirroring a seesaw, here
today and gone-tomorrow type of
year, on Dec. 17 it was announced
that a 24,800-bird turkey flock in
northern Lancaster County was
Several press conferences were scheduled during the
year to disseminate Information about the spread of a non
pathogenlc form of avian Influenza virus. This one In May
was held to announce to new flocks Identified with the virus
in the quarantine zone In northern Lancaster County. From
left, John Martin, chair of the Poultry Health Committee of
the Pennsylvania Poultry Federation; John Hoffman,
executive director of the Pennsylvania Poultry Federation;
Walter N. Peechatka, executive deputy agriculture secret
ary; and Dr. Shetbyn Ostrich, acting director of the bureau
of animal health and diagnostic services and state veterina
rian. As a resu It of the outbreak, the Northeast Poultry Show
was cancelled, in addition to poultry shows at the state
Farm Show.
Farmland preservation programs In Lancaster County and throughout the state
recorded a “banner” year. At the Trust’s annual picnic held at Greystone Manner
Farms In mid-September are, standing from left to right, Karen M. Weiss, director of
land preservation for the Trust; Melissa Cauler, Trust development assistant; and Pip
Ravegum, farm manager.
infected with the virus, and con
cerns once again resurfaced. But
because of persistent efforts to
maintain biosecurity, many pro
ducers weathered the storm and the
poultry industry continues to revi
talize itself in the state.
In this back-and-forth year of
biotechnical applications in clon
ing, tobacco growing and harvest
challenges, about the requested
resignation of then-Secretary of
Agriculture Charles Brosius of
West Chester, there was the
emerging success stories of farm
land preservation, about the state
Grange conducting a historic
meeting in Reading, and other
events that kept producers optimis
tic about the future of agriculture.
Political Changes
There were several major politi
cal events involving those repre
senting Pennsylvania agriculture
that were much talked about within
the community, though perhaps
didn’t much impact the general
public’s opinion of the industry as
a whole.
One happened in the spring.
Gov. Tom Ridge requested the res
ignation of mushroom farmer
Charles Brosius of West Chester,
then secretary of agriculture.
The move resulted in an out
pouring of comment and widely
expressed disappointment from all
areas of agriculture. Brosius had
endeared himself to the constituen
cy and to the legislature.
Ridge explained that he wanted
someone else to move the state
Department of Agriculture in a
new direction.
Not long after, former and
retired Republican leader of the
state House of Representatives,
Samuel Hayes Jr., accepted the
position as state secretary of agri
culture. Hayes noted he wants to
make the Pennsylvania Depart
ment of Agriculture a “blue rib
bon” agency.
The change in leadership pre
sented some changes in function
and operation. While Brosius con
tinues to be widely admired for his
diplomacy and bearing as secret
ary, Hayes has come on strongly as
an advocate for expanding Pen
nsylvania’s agricultural base, fos
tering creativity and effectiveness
and providing leadership with
more political savvy and interna
tional experience and
In late February last year, mem
bers of the Land O’Lakes
Cooperative approved a plan to
merge with the Atlantic Dairy
Cooperative. The merger became
effective April 1. In other merger
news, PennAg and Pennsylvania
Agronomic Products Association
announced a merger in mid-June
The Pennsylvania State Grange
celebrated its 125 th anniversary
during the year, passing a torch
from one subordinate Grange to
another across the stale, Olympic -
style, ending with the return of the
torch to state Master William Steel
during a historic pageant in
Early in October, Samuel Hayes
Jr., state secretary of agriculture,
signed and authorized the slate’s
first official nutrient management
plan on tbe44S-acre beef finishing
operation, Greystone Manor
Farms, located along Rt 272. The
event was significant because it
marks the culmination of more
than a decade of effort by many
people to establish and implement
a statewide nutrient management
Samuel Hayes Jr., Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture,
at right, noted he warns to make the Pennsylvania Depart*
ment of Agriculture a “blue ribbon” agency. A meeting of
the Pennsylania Council of Farm Organizations was held
early In June at which Hayes spoke. With him Is Earl Fink,
president of the Council.
Greystone Manor Farms, in
mid-September, preserved prime
farmland at the Lancaster Farm
land Trust’s annual picnic, held at
the farm.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
held a news conference mid-April
at the dairy farm of Ronald Kopp
in Middletown. The conference
was called to promote legislation
to place at least a fivc-ccnt deposit
on bottles and cans in the state.
A three-part bottle bill series in
Lancaster Farming examined the
challenges farmers face from the
bottles dumped on their property,
the damages the trash causes, and
ways in which states such as Ore
gon successfully enacted bottle bill
The general population became
aware of tome of the biotechnical
applications occurring in agricul
ture and the pharmaceutical indus
tries. In a historic event, a lamb
was cloned directly from its
Cloning has almost become an
everyday subject in agriculture.
But die news about the lamb was
significant because it showed the
actual application of the theory of
using adult genetic material to
clone genetically identical
The announcement of the clone
(it took many attempts to achieve
it) began a somewhat short-lived
international debate about the use
of the technology.
Soybean producers began mak
ing use of major herbicide
resistant varieties. Applications
for genetic control, rather than
chemical control, of plant pests
were coming to fruition.
The entire industry is switching
gradually to genetically strong
strains of plants that can protect
themselves from insect pressure,
disease, and drought—almost, in
a sense, “evolving” away from the
use of strictly chemical controls.
Also, the Food and Drug Admi
nistration early in December
approved irradiation of meat pro
ducts for controlling disease
causing microorganisms. The
approval applies to fresh and fro
zen red meats such as beef, lamb,
and pork, and joins ranks with pre
viously approved vegetables and
One FDA commissioner noted
that irradiation of meat could pro
vide consumers with another toed
to control food-home disease.
Precision agricultural took were
demonstrated at the annual Ag
Progress Days in Rockspring.
More crop growers are using satel
lite record-keeping to track ele
ments of their crops to improve
pesticide and fertilizer use.
Also, the swine industry is mak
ing huge strides toward the use of
artificial insemination (AI) on
their herds. It won’t be long before
a half of all breeders use AI
In October, ona 1,350-acre fam
ily farm in Nazareth, on the farm of
the Willard Setzer family, the state
government and ag leadership rec
ognized the milestone of breaking
the 100,000 th acre mark in farm
land preservation.
In addition. Gov. Tom Ridge
signed an executive order that calls
for continued cooperation between
state and local agencies to protect
farmland through the state’s farm
land preservation program, which
secures development rights on that
Ridge noted that his cider is to
direct state agencies to actively
seek ways to preserve the state’s
prime agricultural land, rather than
to take a passive role.
The Setzer location was chosen
because, when the family sold the
development rights on a 273-acre
tract of the farm for Northampton
county for $1.09 million, the
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