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Grassroots Close-up

In an effort to get to know members, Grassroots Close-up highlights PFB members and their involvement in agriculture.

Published each month in the Country Focus member publication, each member is interviewed about such topics as their operation, products they sell, views on current agriculture processes, and why they are a Farm Bureau member.


We hope you enjoy getting to know your fellow members!

Please contact Liam Migdail at 717.761.2740 for more information or submit this online form.


Name  County Business

Brittany Foertsch Butler Crop & Beef Farm
Karen Chapin Columbia Crop Farm
Tim Wood Tioga Dairy Farm
Dennis Marbarger Schuylkill Crop & Beef Farm
Bob Rutledge Wayne Beef & Grain Farm
Stacy Hann Perry Dairy Farm
Mark Muir Erie Sheep Farm
Rachel Kirkoff Berks Poultry
LeeAnn Kapanick Crawford Beef & Crop Farm
Tim Goss Mifflin Hog Farm
Julie Perry Bradford Diversified Farm
Stephen Naylor Perry Grain Farmer
Courtney Meyer Lancaster Agriculture Insurance
Joe Krall
Lebanon Dairy Farmer
Karen Doyle York Pick-Your-Own Farm
Don Carter Washington Agway Employee
Shannon Copeland
Erie Crop Adjuster
Andrew Frankenfield
Montgomery Produce Farmer
Clair Esbenshade Snyder Diversified Farm
David Yeany Forest Maple Syrup Producer
Eliza Walton Centre Grain Mill Operator
Brett Reinford Juniata Dairy Farmer
Charles Wyant Clarion Equine Facility
Carissa Itle-Westrick Cambria Dairy Farmer
Jim & Kim Barbour Susquehanna Diversified Farm





web marbarger


Crop & Beef Farm


Tell us about your farm
We have a crop farm and raise about 16 steers every year. We have a 350-acre farm in the southern part of Schuylkill County near Pine Grove. We are down in the valley with rolling hills. We have some nice flat ground and hills that make it tricky for equipment. We mostly grow corn and soybeans, and some wheat and hay. I deal with horse customers outside of Philadelphia, and some of them have been my customers for the past 20 years. My wife, Deb retired from school and she helps me quite a bit. This farm was my parents, and its been in my family since 1896.

You are on the board of the Schuylkill/Carbon County Farm Bureau. What keeps you involved?
I’m involved in working membership, and also our policy development. I try to show members and perspective members all that is involved in being a part of Farm Bureau. I’ve been involved in Farm Bureau for 25 years. When I work membership, I try to explain all that Farm Bureau does. I dread to think what would happen if we did not have this organization. If people like lawmakers didn’t hear from us, they would base decisions on what they heard from other groups. We have to stand up for ourselves. There is a benefit to being a member, and for the amount you pay in dues, it is a bargain.

Why is policy development so important?
It starts from the grassroots. It affects us, and if it doesn’t start with us, others will dictate what we will do. In Schuylkill County, we are pretty lucky. We have a good group of legislators that want to hear from us. They are behind us on most things.

Tell us about the county Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Promotion efforts
We have gotten involved with the FARMtastic Book program through the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. We’ve worked on getting those books into local libraries. They have always been very appreciative of that. We are also trying to push to get the Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab program at our local schools. I had the chance to sit through one lesson and it was fascinating. That is where we have to start. We have to work with them at a young age so they learn the positive of agriculture. I try to get involved as much as I can.

You’ve participated in Farm Bureau’s State and National Legislative Conferences. What is enjoyable about those experiences?
The main purpose is to talk with local legislators, but it is great to meet with other members of Farm Bureau. You get in interesting conversations and realize that everyone is in the same boat. Meeting other people is interesting, plus we have the chance to meet our local legislator and try to get him or her to support Farm Bureau’s position.

Are you optimistic about the future of agriculture?
People have to eat. I think it is taken for granted too much in this country. Stores are open around the clock. When I walk into supermarkets, I’m amazed at what is available. The quality is unreal. Food is a bargain in this country.

Lastly, why are you a Farm Bureau member?
Farmers have to have a voice in every aspect. That is why I got involved in this organization.