The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.
Pennsylvania’s farm community has often felt that the environmental regulatory agencies and the compliance they require, are unrealistic in their expectations and too far out of reach for farms to reach while remaining viable. We have complained that we don’t understand the basis for the model used to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reduction goals and have questioned its legitimacy. In short, we have felt that policy and regulations are created without input from farming operations by people without insight or understanding of practical farm practices.
Now, with a new process, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, with its partners; PA Departments of Agriculture and Conservation and Natural Resources, is opening the process to farmers to bring their experience and knowledge to the table to improve their efforts to meet the State’s Bay obligations. Pennsylvania is prioritizing its clean water efforts related to the Bay by relying on plans informed and developed with local understanding of the waterways needs as well as the communities’...including the farm community.
But the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania are concerned that the State’s dairy farmers don’t know this opportunity is open to them and that they have a say in how it gets done, how improvements are prioritized, and which mix of cost-effective solutions are utilized. “We don’t want this extended hand from the regulatory agencies to be missed by the farm operators who are going to end up bearing the burden of whatever BMPs are ultimately encourage, or worse...required,” said PDMP President and Clinton County dairyman, Doug Harbach. “Instead we need farm owners to bring their questions and concerns to the table NOW, while this window of open dialog and ideas exists”.
PDMP urges Pennsylvania’s dairy owners, and all other farm operators to be part of this discussion...part of the development...part of the solution, to try to head off impossible regulations being imposed upon us. “We need to jump on at this early point and be part of developing Pennsylvania’s plan to ensure that it is practical and realistic for farming operations to implement voluntarily, rather than unattainable regulations to which we are required to comply,” added PDMP Executive Director Alan Novak.
The Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania is hosting a discussion for these policy makers and dairy managers to kick off the dialog on August 8th as part of its annual Summer Summit. Following the morning offering of dairy management workshops on cow handling, soil health and labor issues, then lunch, an open discussion on the Bay plan will be held.
Interested dairy managers should call 877-326-5993 or go to the events page at pdmp.org for more information about the Summer Summit. The Summer Summit is part of the Professional Dairy Managers of PA’s ongoing commitment to offer top-quality educational development programs for dairy producers to help improve their productivity and profitability. Attending workshops such as these help producers keep abreast of the latest technologies and management techniques and provide important networking opportunities.