As part of his Tunkhannock visit, newly elected U.S. Congressman Fred Keller, R-Middleburg, stopped at Brown Hill Farm in Lemon Township on Thursday to meet with members of the local agriculture community.
State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township; Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake; and Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry were also present to hear from constituents like Scott Brown, one of three generations presently running the farm.
“The farm has been in the family since the mid-1800s and we would like to keep it here, but it’s a struggle and it seems to get worse,” said Brown.
To Brown, farming struggles aren’t limited to finances, but also regulations and people having negative perceptions of areas like genetically modified crops because of the media.
In response, Keller noted that while he did not grow up on a farm, his stepfather did, giving him an understanding of the various qualities needed to be a successful farmer.
“Agriculture is No. 1 in the 12th congressional district and across the entire Commonwealth,” Keller said. “Recognizing the work that our farmers do, we need to support them in everything that we’re working on.”
Sharing an update from Washington, D.C., Keller said bills being worked on would help the dairy industry by getting whole milk into schools through federal programs and making sure milk is labelled correctly.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would also aid American farmers by eliminating barriers.
Addressing issues with trade, Keller said he acknowledges that agriculture has been impacted, especially the lumber industry.
Relief has been put out there because of the tariff wars with China, he said, and money has also been put into a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to develop agriculture markets.
Through his committee assignments with education and labor, Keller promised to prevent any additional regulations on farming and promote agriculture education among America’s youth.
While the minority Republican party doesn’t have control of the committees in the U.S. House of Representatives, the congressman said he plans to prioritize advancing good policy and ensuring that rural voices are heard.
Keller also received a tour of Brown Hill Farm and learned of the farm’s endeavors with agritourism, hemp and youth farming education.