Tell us about your farm.
I live in Tioga County next to the Twin Lakes. That’s a very beautiful part of the state. We are very lucky to farm about 900 acres, mostly level. With that, we are able to feed about 150 mature cattle and roughly 200 head of young stock. We sell milk as our primary money maker but we also sell bulls and heifers as well corn, soybeans, wheat and a variety of hay and balage.
What do you enjoy about being Tioga/Potter County Farm Bureau president?
I enjoy being a county president when I can be involved in solving the problems somebody in our area is having.
You are involved in Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s State Dairy Committee. What role does the committee play in our organization?
Dairy has always been my primary reason for getting back into Farm Bureau and for being involved. I enjoy that the members of dairy committee represent a big cross section of the dairy segment in Pennsylvania. It’s easy to say what you stand for and for somebody else to say what they stand for. Neither one of us is going to get what we want all of the time. We’re usually going to meet somewhere in the middle. The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board discussion, I think, is going to be one of most important discussions that we have and it could change our policy for years to come.
You’ve been involved in Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s policy development process. What do you like about policy development?
That’s my favorite thing about Farm Bureau. Seeing policy come from a discussion around a bale of hay at a show or meeting someone at a feed mill and then taking those ideas and moving them through Farm Bureau is very rewarding to me. That makes me feel like I can make a difference rather than just giving up. Our members, sometimes they have already just given up and if I can go out there and get them to voice their concerns or say how they would like to see it done, that’s where I get our policies from.
You are also involved in membership work in the county.
What do you enjoy about membership work?
I go and talk to members who are absolutely going to quit because they’re upset about some policy that we have. And I often give them the speech: If you don’t like it, help me to change it. When I first joined Farm Bureau, I was a member for a couple years and then I quit. Johnny Painter (District 5 Director) stopped at my farm and gave me the same speech I give people now: You can complain about it from the outside sitting here on your farm or you can get involved in changing it. So that’s what I did.
Are you optimistic about the future of the agriculture industry?
Yes, people are always going to have to eat. So we’ve got a market. We’ve just got to get our share of the market. I would like our organization to be at the table, helping to write new regulations and either fixing or getting rid of the ones that hurt us. I would also like our organization to encourage fairness. I still think that a young person can start farming from scratch but it isn’t easy. And it would be a little bit easier if they had help from other farmers.
Lastly, why are you a Farm Bureau member?
I am a Farm Bureau member because when we go to Washington or Harrisburg, we are not just farmers from Tioga County. We are Farm Bureau and we get invited in the door. We can change things when we work together than we could not change by ourselves. That to me is what Farm Bureau can do.