LANCASTER, Pa. – One hundred family farmers and ranchers attended Pennsylvania Farmers Union’s (PFU) 2020 Convention last week, celebrating the organization’s success on in-state 2019 policy priorities. PFU delegates also participated in the organization’s unique, grassroots policy-setting process, and ultimately adopted the organization’s policy book and new policies to help guide the advocacy efforts of the organization over the next year.
“We’re encouraged by the strong turnout at our convention this year, as it demonstrates the importance of our work to promote the viability of independent farmers and the enthusiasm farmers in our state have for joining forces to make our issues known in the state and the country,” said PFU President Heidi Secord. “As a voice for Pennsylvania’s farm families, our policy adoption process is the heart of our work. It guides our efforts as an organization, and ultimately influences what National Farmers Union brings to the table in Washington, D.C. This Presidential election year is critical for family farmers, and we want to be sure our members are well represented.
The Convention took place on February 5 at the Lancaster County Convention Center in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Winter Conference. The meeting included and featured an organic grain panel made up of Pennsylvania organic farmers and mill operators, Rodale Institute and PDA. Lyn Garling, a meat farmer in Centre County and Board member of PA Farmers Union, moderated the session. The panel focused on the future of organic grains in Pennsylvania and the challenges of maintaining diverse markets. “The collective wisdom on this panel highlights key areas where we Pennsylvania farmers have untapped market opportunities while identifying some of the barriers to access.” said Lyn Garling.
The Convention also featured a farm-to-table meal, provided by PFU members. Convention attendees heard remarks from Heidi Secord, PA State President and National Farmers Union Presidential Candidates Rob Larew and Mike Eby. The inaugural Jane Alexander Award, which will be presented
annually to a PA individual, family, organization or project that has made a significant contribution to preserving and enhancing family farm agriculture and the rural way of life, was presented to Jane Alexander.
“The Annual Convention provides us an opportunity to highlight our work and our collaborations with the national Local Food Safety Collaborative and the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture, who provided us funding for educational outreach and food safety trainings for Pennsylvania family farms.” said Secord. “Our speakers provided valuable insights, important discussion points and focused our membership on pertinent issues for policy debates.”
As a means of providing the organization a prescriptive set of priorities, the membership adopted the following new policy priorities: (see attached PDF’s)
–Pennsylvania Farmers Union