WAYNE/PIKE - The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau held it's National Legislative Conference on February 26 and 27 in Washington, D.C.  The Wayne/Pike Farm Bureau was well represented by President Karl Eisenhauer, State Women's Leadership Chair, Bonnie LaTourette, Bob Rutledge, and Mike Mancino.
      Bonnie LaTourette and the State Board of Directors met with an aide of Senator Bob Casey
while the rest of the delegation had a 45 minute session with Congressman Tom Marino.  Both
meetings contained discussion of the issues most critical to our nation's farmers.
       Immigration Reform is still high on the list of legislative priorities for farmers who require
guest workers for planting and harvesting crops.  Large dairy farms and mushroom operations require
farm skilled workers year round.  They need access to a reliable and legal labor force to maintain their
businesses.  American workers are generally unwilling to perform these difficult tasks.
      Updating our waterway transportation system has become more important as locks and dams
are no longer large enough to accommodate the barges in use today.  This compromises the export of
farm commodities from the United States and opens the door for other countries to take over our
foreign markets.
      Income tax reform is a complicated issue at best.  Pennsylvania Farm Bureau supports the
continuation of cash based accounting for agriculture and the elimination of capital gains taxes.
Farmers who sell land are almost always taxed at a higher 20%  rate even if the land is sold to a family
member who is part of the family business.  Until capital gains taxes are eliminated, Farm Bureau
requests that Congress at least modify the current rate of taxation.
     Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is still asking Congress to stop the Environmental Protection
Agency's overreach of it's authority.  EPA officials would like to regulate “all waters” of the US rather
than the Federal limit of “navigable waters” only.  “All waters” would include farm ponds, ditches,
streams and puddles, even if they may be dry for most of the year.
      The Wayne/Pike delegation reported good meetings, not only with the legislators, but with other
Farm Bureau members from around the state.
      The State Legislative Conference will be held on April 1 in Harrisburg.