PA Farm Bureau President:
Still Time to Address Critical Agriculture Issues in 2013

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Carl Shaffer expresses his frustration over a lack of progress on key issues impacting agriculture, including a failed attempt to address transportation funding in Pennsylvania.  Shaffer made the comments during a news conference as part of PFB's 63rd Annual Meeting in Hershey.

 

Lackawanna County Farmer Earns Distinguished Service Award

Richard Pallman grew up knowing the hard work of farm life, and the love of working in the family business.

But his journey in agriculture took Pallman beyond the farm gate.

Pallman’s work in agriculture, both as a volunteer with Farm Bureau, and later while working for the Farm Service Agency, benefited Pennsylvania farmers.

Pallman’s work in agriculture was recognized by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, who named him the winner of the 2013 Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. Pallman received the award at PFB’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Hershey.

Pallman also served on Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s State Board of Directors for eight years, and prior to that as president of the Wyoming/Lackawanna County Farm Bureau.

“It was an honor just to be nominated for the award, and very humbling to have received the award,” Pallman said. “I greatly appreciate it. I would not have been able to do this without the support of my family.”

“Rich Pallman has been involved in farming all of his life and has done an outstanding job representing the agriculture industry and the needs of farmers across the state.  He also played a critical role in negotiating changes to labor laws involving seasonal workers, which helped preserve numerous fruit and vegetable operations across the state,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.

Pallman was raised in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County and spent his early years working on his father’s turkey farm.

Over the years, Pallman Farms has grown and changed to include a pick-your-own strawberry operation. From the late 1970s until 2000, Pallman Farms was one of the largest tomato growers in Pennsylvania.

Tomato growers rely on a steady source of labor for planting and harvest. Like much of agriculture, those growers have utilized foreign-born workers to help with the farm work.

Pallman played key roles in lobbying federal lawmakers to reform the nation’s agriculture immigration system in the 1990s.

Pallman chaired Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Labor Committee for 10 years, and also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation Labor Advisory Committee for one year. During that time, Pallman made numerous visits to Washington D.C. to work with lawmakers and regulators on commonsense immigration reform.

For Pallman, those visits meant time away from the farm. But he knows the effort was worthwhile.

“As I look back, I know there were times I didn’t think we were making much headway,” he said. “There was a lot of work involved and I know it benefited many people in the fruit and vegetable industry.”

In 2001, Pallman was nominated by President George W. Bush as the State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Pennsylvania. During his time, Pallman used his business judgment to streamline offices and bring efficiencies to the agency.

Pallman is now semi-retired but continues to help his brothers Bruce and Brian operate Pallman Farms.  The farm raises and processes more than 8,500 turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, continuing a tradition started by Pallman’s father.

Mains Honored for His Local Efforts

Cumberland County grain farmer Richard “Dick” Mains has an extensive history of involvement with Farm Bureau.

But he counts his greatest victory in securing funding for the first Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab. Over the years, Mains has continued to support the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation as the Ag Lab program has grown.

“It is probably the best project I have ever been involved in,” he said.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau named Mains the 2013 Distinguished Local Affairs Leader Award because of his leadership and dedication. Mains received his award at PFB’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Hershey.

The award recognizes a county Farm Bureau member whose efforts and activities have helped solve problems and improve rural living for county Farm Bureau members.

“Dick has been involved in many roles during his decades of service within Farm Bureau.  He has run an extremely successful farming operation over the years and despite the challenges involved in farming, he has taken time to get involved with youngsters through FFA,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.  “His work in promoting our Ag Science Labs is unparalleled.”

Throughout his farming career, Mains has been an advocate of the grassroots nature of Farm Bureau and the importance of being involved at the local level.

Mains has held numerous positions in the Cumberland County Farm Bureau, including serving as president. He also represented the area as a member of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau State Board of Directors.

During his time on the State Board, Mains was involved in the early efforts to establish the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation, a charitable organization supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
He also led the fundraising efforts in his region to secure enough money to pay for the first Ag Lab.

Mains continues to focus on education, acting as an advisor to his local FFA Chapter. More than 15 years ago, when the local school board was considering significantly scaling-back on agriculture education, Mains and other farmers successfully advocated for the district to keep the program. 

Mains was thankful to have been nominated for the Distinguished Local Affairs Leader Award, and humbled to have been chosen.

“I really am proud that I was considered,” he said. “But I know there are a lot of other people that probably are more worthy of it.”

 

Aug 30, 2013
County Farm Bureaus hosted lawmakers during their summer break

 

For a week during the summer, teachers from all over the state visit farms and agricultural industries to learn how food moves from the source to the consumer. In addition, the program emphasizes the relationship between the food we eat and our environment.