Tell us about your farm:
Ours is a family farm. We have been in the community for 126 years. My mom and dad still own the farm, but I operate it. We have 195 acres on the home farm and rent other ground for crop production. We grow pigs for Country View. We’ve been with them for 20 years and produce about 18,000 hogs a year. We also have 55 head of cattle as part of a cow/calf operation.
You are involved in membership for Mifflin County Farm Bureau. What got you involved?
I got involved about eight years ago. I was renting ground off my neighbor Ken Loht, and he asked me to be on the board. I then started helping out with membership and Ken asked me to eventually take over as membership chair when he was no longer able to do it. I held good to my word.
What do you like about working membership?
The biggest thing I like about being membership chair is getting to know the farmers in my county. It is a pretty diversified county in agriculture and a lot of farms are still owned by the fathers and then handed down. It is pretty neat to meet people that you heard the name, but never put a face with. Another farmer, Dave Mitchell helps with membership, and he’s a tremendous help. He pushes me a lot. When we work membership, we let our neighbors know that Farm Bureau is there to help in any way we can. We work together as a team and we have a lot of fun.
You were elected as a township supervisor last year. What made you decide to run?
The main reason is my family has been here for a number of years. I thought it was time that the family gave back to the community. We’ve established ourselves, and shown we can run a successful business, so I think I can give some input into township business. I’m in touch with the other supervisors a few times a week on issues. We have our plate full. It takes time, but I know what is going on. This is where government starts, at the township level. People have to get involved.
What are some of the ways that Mifflin County gets input for policy development?
When Dave and I work membership we always make sure to ask farmers about the issues they are seeing. We always take those concerns back to the policy development chairs. A lot of those issues and concerns are common-sense stuff.
Are you optimistic about the future of agriculture?
I am very optimistic on the side of the demand for the products we are producing. But I am concerned about some of these regulations. We need to find leaders to rescind some of these laws that don’t need to be in place. The demand is there for our products. But on the flip side, some of these regulations are choking us to death, so it’s frustrating that you don’t know which way to turn.
Lastly why are you a Farm Bureau member?
I first started with Farm Bureau because Ken Loht was my neighbor, and you don’t live next to Ken and not join Farm Bureau. But, in all seriousness, it didn’t take me long to realize all that Farm Bureau does for its members. It gives you a peace of mind to know that you have someone looking over these regulations on a daily basis, plus keeping us up to date on what is happening in Harrisburg and Washington. One of the biggest things I noticed since getting involved was the amount of networking that you can do with a lot of very good people around the state. I’ve met a lot of nice people from York County to Westmoreland County to all around the state. Any Farm Bureau member needs to be proud of the organization for the activities they engage in. There is always someone there at the state office that you can turn to.