Sens. Vogel, Schwank Send Letter to Milk Marketing Board Voicing Opposition to House Bill 224

Harrisburg— Today, state Sens. Elder Vogel (R-47) and Judy Schwank (D-11), the chairs of the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) expressing their concerns about House Bill 224.

House Bill 224 seeks to amend the Milk Marketing Law and give the PMMB the authority, by official order, to fix, coordinate, facilitate or establish the collection and distribution of premiums established by the PMMB on milk and dairy products. In the letter, Vogel and Schwank raised concerns about making hasty changes to Pennsylvania’s over-order premium laws, which have been in place since 1988.

“No one disputes that our current over-order premium is very complex and that changing it will produce varying impacts upon those in the dairy industry,” Vogel and Schwank said in the letter. “We recognize that this industry has diminished, due in part to a decrease in milk consumption, and want to act in the best interest of farmers. It is therefore in the best interest of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry, and its consumers, that any changes are carefully crafted through thorough review and consideration.”

The lawmakers are also requesting that the PMMB reauthorize the current over-order premium beyond Dec. 31, 2022. “It is imperative that this premium be maintained until further examination and consideration may be made or it is anticipated that unintended volatility in the commonwealth’s dairy industry could ensue. We firmly believe that inaction on your part could result in a significant impact on consumers at the grocery store during these inflationary times.”

Vogel and Schwank closed the letter by saying they look forward to working collaboratively with the PMMB and all members of the general assembly and hope to address the over-order premium system early in the 2023-2024 Legislative Session.

“Let us be clear, we whole-heartedly support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry. However, this must be demonstrated in a balanced manner and from and educated perspective; we must be diligent and fair in how we approach such a monumental change for dairy producers.”

 

CONTACTS:    Cara Laudenslager (Sen. Vogel)             claudenslager@pasen.gov 

                             Spencer Thornburg (Sen. Schwank)     Spencer.thornburg@pasenate.com

Senate Ag Committee to Consider Bills Making Fireworks Law Changes, Helping Dairy Farmers

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee will meet off the floor in the Senate Rules Room on Monday, June 20, to consider two bills, according to Committee Chair Sen. Elder Vogel (R-47):

  • House Bill 223, sponsored by Rep. John Lawrence (R-13), creates the Keystone Opportunity Dairy Zone Act to facilitate new or additional processing capacity for Pennsylvania milk.
  • House Bill 2157, sponsored by Rep. Frank Farry (R-142), includes omnibus amendments to the Fireworks Law.

 

CONTACT:               Cara Laudenslager                  claudenslager@pasen.gov

Senate Ag Committee to Consider Very Small Meat Processing Grant Program Update, Horse Racing Regulations Legislation

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee will hold a voting meeting at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, in Room 461, Main Capitol, to consider the following legislation:

  • Senate Bill 1236 (Sen. Vogel) – Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to make several updates to the Very Small Meat Processor Federal Inspection Reimbursement Grant Program.
  • Senate Bill 1237 (Sen. Vogel) – Amends Title 3 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to extend the existing temporary horse racing regulations by three years and provide the Horse Racing Commission the authority to issue temporary regulations in compliance with forthcoming federal regulations.

The meeting will be streamed live on the committee website.

 

CONTACT: Cara Laudenslager     claudenslager@pasen.gov

ADVISORY – Wednesday, April 13 – Joint Public Hearing on Chronic Wasting Disease

A joint hearing about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will be held in the state Capitol on Wednesday, April 13 by the Senate’s Game and Fisheries and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, according to committee chairs Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-49, and Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.

The hearing follows up a joint hearing held by the committees on Feb. 9 in Bedford, PA, during which the committee heard about the prevalence of CWD in Pennsylvania and what is being done to address this neurological disease that affects members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose and reindeer/caribou).

Since first being detected in Pennsylvania deer roughly a decade ago, CWD has spread to all or part of 27 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The abnormal proteins that cause CWD are shed in saliva, urine, and feces, meaning animals can be infected via animal-to-animal contact or through contaminated environments. CWD-infected animals might not show symptoms of the disease for 18 to 24 months, but all white-tailed deer and elk that contract CWD die, there are no exceptions.

The April 13 hearing will focus on the science behind CWD and related research efforts to combat the disease, and feature testimony from Dr. Erick Gagne, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Ecology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program; Dr. Michelle Gibison, Manager of Research Projects, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Futures Program; Dr. Richard Roush, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State University; Calvin Norman, Forestry and Wildlife Extension Educator, Penn State Extension; and Darell Rowledge, Director of the Alliance for Public Wildlife.

The Alliance for Public Wildlife is a group of scientists and professionals whose stated goal is establishing, developing, promoting, and defending principles and policies that will ensure the conservation of North American wildlife. The organization has produced documents (The Challenge of CWD: Insidious and Dire, as well as a supplement to that analysis) examining the science behind CWD, the history and process of its spread, and the public policy implications and recommendations for dealing with it.

WHAT: Joint public hearing of the Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Game and Fisheries committees about Chronic Wasting Disease.

WHEN: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 13

WHERE: Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, PA State Capitol

HEARING LIVESTREAM:  https://www.senatorlaughlin.com/2022/04/11/ag-game-041322/

 

CONTACTS:           Koty McGowan          kmcgowan@pasen.gov

                                   Cara Laudenslager      claudenslager@pasen.gov