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PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS ASSOCIATION TO CONDUCT ANNUAL WASHINGTON LEGISLATIVE TOUR

 PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS ASSOCIATION TO CONDUCT
 ANNUAL WASHINGTON LEGISLATIVE TOUR
 CAMP HILL, Pa., Feb. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The unified voice of more than 23,000 Pennsylvania farm families will be heard in Washington March 3-4 when the Pennsylvania Farmers' Association (PFA) conducts its annual Washington legislative tour.
 Nearly 200 PFA leaders who serve on county farmers' association national legislative committees will be meeting with their congressmen for face-to-face discussions of important farm issues. The PFA spokesmen will be recommending action based on policies developed from the grassroots local level and adopted by the nationwide American Farm Bureau Federation.
 "PFA is an organization dedicated to solving problems for farmers," said PFA President Keith Eckel of Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County. "We operate on the belief that the best way to solve a problem is to involve the people most affected by it. We want to make sure that when all is said and done in Washington, our lawmakers know how we, the farmers, think the top agricultural issues of the day should be handled."
 PFA spokesmen will be meeting with their congressmen and U.S. senators at their Washington offices on Wednesday afternoon, March 4. Later, PFA will host a Group Legislative Banquet featuring guest speaker U.S. Rep. Thomas Ridge (R-21st). Eckel will address the Pennsylvania congressional delegation at a breakfast meeting, Thursday, March 5.
 Issues on the agenda for discussion during PFA's Washington tour include:
 Wetlands -- The principal federal authority for protecting wetlands is Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Efforts are underway in Congress to reauthorize and amend the act, including the wetlands provisions. In addition, PFA is backing an attempt to reform wetlands regulations through separate legislation. PFA will seek to obtain more support and co-sponsors for H.R. 1330 and S. 1463 which would provide a realistic definition of wetlands, clarify the normal farming practices exempt from permit requirements, and require compensation for landowners for loss of use of regulated wetlands.
 Property Rights -- Federal agencies are exerting new controls on the use of private property through wetlands' regulations, environmental restrictions, denial of water rights or other economic uses of property. PFA is supporting S.50 and its companion bill, H.R. 1572, which would require federal agencies to consider the impact of their rules and regulations on private property under the "takings" clause of the U.S. Constitution.
 Legal Services Reform -- Since it was established in 1974, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has supported activities far beyond its original intent of providing legal assistance to the poor. LSC-funded attorneys have engaged in a wide range of inappropriate, anti-business litigation including union organizing, lobbying and targeting farmers for legal persecution. PFA is seeking more support for legislation, H.R. 1345, which has been introduced to reform many Legal Services abuses.
 Health Insurance -- Unlike business corporations, farmers and other self-employed businessmen can only deduct 25 percent of their health insurance premiums from their federal taxes -- and that partial deduction is due to expire in July 1992. PFA is backing H.R. 784 which would phase in permanent 100 percent deductibility over a five-year span.
 Animal Welfare -- There is a militant element of the animal rights movement that has resorted to violent and illegal activities such as burning or breaking into research facilities, destroying equipment and removing research animals. The violence is spreading to agricultural facilities. For example, an animal rights group has claimed responsibility for burning a livestock auction facility in California. PFA is seeking more support for legislation, H.R. 2407 and S. 544, which would make animal rights terrorism a federal crime.
 Food Safety -- A number of food scares in recent years have focused public attention on pesticide residues. Presently, risk and benefit are assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency in setting residue allowances for raw commodities, while under the Delaney Clause, "zero risk" is required for additives in processed food. PFA is supporting H.R. 3216 which would eliminate the Delaney Clause and establish a uniform standard of risk vs. benefit for both raw and processed foods. PFA opposes S. 1074 and H.R. 2342 which would prohibit the consideration of the benefits of agricultural chemicals.
 Pesticide Jurisdiction -- PFA will also be seeking co-sponsors for S. 2085 and H.R. 3850 which would preempt local governments from regulating pesticide use. While Pennsylvania law does forbid local intervention, federal legislation is needed to insure that farmers nationwide are able to make farming decisions under uniform regulations.
 PFA is a voluntary, statewide farm organization representing 23,049 families in 54 county associations. It is affiliated with the nation's largest general farm organization, the 3.9 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/21/92
 /CONTACT: Janet B. Carson or Wilson Smeltz of the PFA, 717-761-2740/ CO: Pennsylvania Farmers Association ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA-MP -- PH006 -- 1350 02/21/92 11:24 EST
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Date:Feb 21, 1992
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