The Annual Meeting of the General Membership of the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association will be held on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 11:30 p.m. in the Crystal Room of the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, during the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention. All members are invited and encouraged to participate in the meeting.
The results of the mail balloting for the Board of Directors will be announced at the meeting. The members will also receive reports on membership, finances, and the other activities of the Association.
The Board of Directors is asking the members to approve amendments to the Association’s Articles of Incorporation. In 2019 the Articles had been amended to allow the Association to apply for status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)3 charitable organization rather than the current status as a 501(c)5 agricultural organization. The IRS subsequently advised the Association that it would not qualify as a 501(c)3 organization and the application for the change was withdrawn. The IRS advised the Association to consider forming a subsidiary 501(c)3 organization which the Board intends to do. However, since the status of the Association itself will remain a 501(c)5, the Board is asking the members to approve amending the Articles of Incorporation with the state Bureau of Corporations to the original language that did not reference status as a 501(c)3 organization. Specifically, Article IV of the Articles would be changed to the following language: The corporation is incorporated for the following purposes: To unite in common organization those engaged in the production, handling or processing of Pennsylvania grown vegetables, potatoes and berries and of others whose business welfare depends at least partially upon the efficiency of the Pennsylvania vegetable, potato and berry industries; to initiate, guide an direct the efforts of Pennsylvania vegetable, potato and berry growers and allied industry along the lines of economic production, research and investigation, grading and standardization of products, advertising and such other functions as may aid in improving the economic efficiency of the vegetable, potato and berry industries of Pennsylvania. In addition, Articles X and XI would be eliminated or amended to delete references to any requirements for 501(c)3 organizations.
In addition, the following additions to the Association’s Policy Resolutions are being proposed for adoption by the members at the Annual Meeting. The underlined text is to be added to the resolutions and the struck-through text is to be deleted.
The Association is on record as:
- Supporting increased efforts by the issuing agencies to provide recipients of Senior and Women-Infants-Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers with additional information on where to use the vouchers and to encourage recipients to use the vouchers earlier in the season.
- Opposing requirements for permanent sewer systems for temporary housing for agricultural workers.
- Opposing state mandated over-time pay for agricultural workers.
- Supporting the development by PennDOT of an intermediate driver’s license for immigrant workers with proper documentation (e.g. tax identification or social security number, proof of employment or legal residency) with an annual review. However, this will not qualify to the workers to be registered to vote under the motor/voter act until the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen.”
- Supporting the elimination of the Adverse Effect Wage Rate for H-2A employees as currently calculated and replacing it with a minimum wage rate that is 110% of the federal minimum wage.
- Supporting the expansion of the definition of “farm use” to include produce deliveries from farm to market for farm tag availability.
- Supporting the ability of farm operators to contract or delegate licensed hunters to harvest wildlife for crop damage without opening it to the public.
- Opposing the reallocation by the General Assembly of funds from the Game Fund to any other agency so as to jeopardize the Game Commission’s eligibility for federal Pittman Robertson funding.
- Supporting an antlerless only, shotgun only season before the archery season in special regulations areas.
- Supporting the opening of the regular rifle whitetail season one week earlier.
- Opposing hunting on Sundays with the exception of hunting crow; coyote and fox, as well as woodchuck in cultivated fields with express written permission of the landowner (2005 and 2017);
Supporting the following requirements/restrictions if Sunday hunting expansion were to become law: (2019) a)Trespass laws be amended to address Pennsylvania Farm Bureau “trespass policy”; b) Hunting be allowed only with written private landowner permission; c)Hunting for deer be allowed “on state game lands and state forests with “No Sunday Hunting” signage provided at no charge for adjacent private lands at the owner’s request; d)Hunting be expanded to include antlerless deer and woodchuck only on Sundays; and e) Sunday hunting for antlerless deer be limited to: i)1st Sunday of archery, II)1st Sunday of flintlock: iii. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday