USDA Secretary Perdue Discusses Trade, Farm Labor and Dairy during Pennsylvania Visit
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the American Mushroom Institute helped organize a tour of a mushroom facility and a roundtable discussion with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan. Following the tour inside Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, a panel discussion involving Perdue, Houlahan, PFB President Rick Ebert and other farmers from across the region, took place in Chester County. Perdue was specifically interested in talking about international trade, with a special emphasis on the need for Congress to swiftly pass the United States/Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is the updated version of NAFTA. Farmers were engaged in the trade discussion, but also emphasized the importance of addressing farm labor issues in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Farmers say the current H-2A program not only needs to be revamped to meet the needs of seasonal operations, but it needs to be expanded to provide an adequate workforce for dairy and mushroom farmers, who are searching for people who can work year-round. The state of Pennsylvania’s struggling dairy industry was also highlighted during the visit. In addition, Perdue traveled to Lancaster County, where he received a tour at the North America headquarters of New Holland, a major farm equipment manufacturer. Trade, tariffs and the need to quickly pass USMCA were once again the focus of discussion during the roundtable event in New Holland, which included an agricultural panel and Congressman Lloyd Smucker.