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.
|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|
|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|
|Karen Doyle||York||Pick-Your-Own Farm|
|Don Carter||Washington||Agway Employee|
|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|
Bob Rutledge - Wayne County
Beef & Grain Farm
Tell us about your farm
I operate a farm with my family. It has been in our family since 1840. We farm about 500 acres where we raise hay and also run a cow-calf operation. Half of our hay is used by our herd while we market the rest. We’ve also transitioned some of our cow herd to finishing our beef for private sales.
You are involved in policy development for Wayne/Pike Farm Bureau. What got you involved?
I wanted my voice to be heard. I live in Wayne County, and natural gas exploration started here around 2007. But we’ve been denied our right to drill because of the Delaware Basin Commission. Susquehanna County, our neighbor, is
prospering with its natural gas development, but we can’t touch ours because we fall in the Delaware River Watershed. It got me motivated to get more involved. Dave Williams, an active Farm Bureau member who lives in the county, encouraged me to get involved with Farm Bureau and on policy development.
You have joined other farmers in your area during National and State Legislative Conference. Why are events like that important?
Hopefully we are able to create a better future. It seems like over the past decade things have gone downhill in rural Pennsylvania. I’m always hopeful that we can initiate change to make things easier. I’d say we have a good relationship with our elected leaders. Over the years I’ve gotten to know my Senators and Representatives on a first name basis. It is very beneficial. In our case, our Senators and Representatives are on our team. They tell us they need to hear from us to help us push our agenda forward, because they hear from the other side as well. They need to hear from everyone.
Why do you continue to serve on the Wayne/Pike County Farm Bureau board?
I was asked to serve. Dave Williams and I were interviewed for a documentary called FrackNation, which tried to counter some of the negativity around natural gas drilling. He and I got working together and he asked me to serve on the county Farm Bureau board. I saw it as a natural fit to help our community as a whole. Natural gas is one way to help keep farms afloat. When that right was taken away from us, I saw the need to stand up for our rights. Farm Bureau gives you a much stronger voice to solve your local problems. You have a much stronger voice than standing by yourself.
Are you optimistic about the future of agriculture?
I try to be. Hopefully with a new administration coming on board it will help farmers. I hope the Trump administration will be able to roll back these regulations. It seems like we can get regulated out of business. Along with owning a farm, I am a homebuilder as well. A lot of those regulations coincide over land use, and overregulation can make things so expensive that projects do not happen.
Lastly, why are you a Farm Bureau member?
To give myself a stronger voice. Farm Bureau helps rural communities, and by participating I can help it go in the direction I think it should.