The Annual Meeting of the General Membership of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association will be held virtually on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. All members are invited and encouraged to participate in the meeting. While the Annual Meeting is usually held during the Mid-Atlantic Convention, due to the virtual nature of the Convention this year, the Board decided to schedule their meeting and the Annual Meeting for the following week instead.
To participate in the virtual meeting, members will need to enter the meeting ID of 813 0091 5044 and passcode 827082 either from www.zoom.us or by calling 1-929-436-2866. Members who would like to participate by telephone on a toll-free line should call PVGA ahead of time at 717-694-3596. Members who plan to attend by phone should call PVGA as soon as possible so we can mail you an agenda for the meeting.
The results of the mail balloting for the Board of Directors will be announced at the meeting. The terms of Robert Amsterdam, Brian Campbell, Peter Flynn, Arthur King, Amy Metrick, Michael Orzolek and Mark Troyer expire at the Annual Meeting this year. Mr. Amsterdam has decided not seek re-election but the rest of the incumbents are running for re-election. The Leadership and Recognition Committee has nominated all the eligible incumbents plus Matt Christner of Dawson and Ted LeBow of Bala Cynwyd for election. Write-in votes are also allowed. Five of the candidates will be elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors by the members. Ballots have been mailed to all members with the annual dues invoices. The ballots must be postmarked by January 15, 2021. All members are urged to vote in the election.
Two years ago the members approved changes to the Association’s constitution to allow the Board to appoint one director to a three-year term each year. When the mail-ballot election system was instituted the Leadership and Recognition Committee adopted the practice of nominating several more candidates than seats available. Obviously, the vote of the members determines who is elected but the results may result in certain groups (such as potato growers, processing growers, berry growers, women, etc.) or areas of the state not being represented on the Board. Thus after the results from the member balloting are determined, the Board selects an additional Board member to help insure the diversity of the Board. Implementing this system three years ago resulted in the Board of Directors having 21 members for 2018 because the members elected six members and the Board appointed a seventh. Beginning with 2019 only five Directors have been elected by the membership so that over a three-year period, the number of Directors will return to 18 after this year’s election.
At the Annual Meeting, the members will also receive reports on membership, finances, and the other activities of the Association.
The following additions to the Association’s policy resolutions are being proposed for adoption by the members at the Annual Meeting. The italicized text is to be added to the resolutions.
- Supporting provisions that agricultural vehicles which are less than 14’0” in height traveling on the road or in the road right of way not be liable for any damage resulting from knocking down low hanging tree limbs and branches encroaching the road right of way.
- Supporting state appropriations for an Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program that will be sufficient to reduce the level of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff estimated from agriculture by at least 50 percent by 2025.
- Supporting an exemption for farmers from regulations for draining wet areas on croplands if the area drained is two acres or less.
- Supporting a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Departments of Agriculture and Labor and Industry and the agriculture industry to identify ways to improve workforce development at the state and local level and to assist growers in providing or accessing housing for H-2A workers.
- Supporting changes in the PA Game Commission definition of a “farmer” to include any individual or entity that actively cultivates, operates, or manages land for a profit when determining wildlife harvests for crop damage.
- Supporting provisions that all agriculture and agriculturally-related businesses, including but not limited to farm markets, farmers markets and greenhouses and their retail operations be deemed “essential” during a disaster emergency.
- Supporting modifications to the permitting and engineering requirements for the construction of farm ponds to make such ponds more economically feasible for growers.
- Supporting a prohibition for counties and municipalities in Pennsylvania to enact and enforce zoning ordinances that require tracts or parcels of agricultural land, consisting of 10 or more acres, to be re-zoned if the agricultural land is being used for commercial purposes.
Federal and State Resolutions
- Supporting research to combat new emerging pests (e.g., Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, the Spotted Wing Drosophila Fruit Fly, Bermuda Grass Stem Maggots, the Spotted Lanternfly, etc.).
- Supporting efforts to have all 48 contiguous states develop a reciprocal agreement regarding their farm plate registrations and to have at least Pennsylvania pursue such agreements with neighboring states.
- Supporting incentives and support be given to utilities to offer three-phase power to farm operations at a more reasonable cost.
- Supporting efforts to harmonize food safety audits with what is required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to reduce duplication.