Jarrid Barry, president of the Pennsylvania Deer Farmers Association, believes it’s important that deer farmers have a strong relationship with the rest of the agricultural community.
That way, he said, deer farmers can advocate for issues that are important to farmers involved in other types of agriculture and the larger agricultural community can advocate for issues important to deer farmers. That’s become especially important as deer farms face threats from chronic wasting disease and there’s talk of changing how deer farms are regulated.
“We’ve seen a desperate need that we need to get involved,” said Barry, who is also a Farm Bureau member. “At the end of the day, we’re farmers.”
That’s why his group has made it a priority to strengthen its relationship with Farm Bureau. Barry and other leaders in the Deer Farmers Association have encouraged their members to join Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and get involved in PFB’s advocacy efforts and policy development.
Clarion-Venango-Forest County Farm Bureau included a deer farm among its legislative farm tour stops this summer and, during that event, Barry had a chance to meet PFB Vice President Chris Hoffman. In turn, the deer farmers invited Hoffman to participate in their recent legislative day at a deer farm in Dauphin County.
“Our relationship with Farm Bureau is one of our goals as an organization,” Barry said.
The legislative day brought members of the state House Agriculture Committee out to the farm to learn about the operation and discuss issues facing deer farmers.
Chronic wasting disease was among the priority issues discussed. Josh Newton, a Lycoming County deer farmer, shared how his farm has been essentially shuttered for several years because CWD was detected in deer on another farm he sold an animal to several years ago. Until the quarantine is lifted next year, it’s nearly impossible for Newton to generate any income from his farm. But because the disease has not been found on his farm, he cannot qualify for indemnity.
“They’re not saying I have CWD,” he said. “But they’re treating me like I do.” Hoffman also spoke and suggested that Pennsylvania should research what
lessons have been learned in other states when it comes to stopping the spread of CWD and regulating deer farms.
“I’m looking to see what everybody else is doing so we can try to find some ways to mitigate this,” he said.
SOURCE LINK: PDFA, http://files.constantcontact.com/173c9af0401/88cc649a-28af-4a6f-9f21-7942571aa654.pdf