Ohio farmer and Franklin County Farm Bureau member Lisa Schacht of Schacht Family Farm and Market testified before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture during a hearing held to receive input on agricultural programs in preparation for writing the 2012 Farm Bill.
Schacht, president of the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association (OPGMA), testified during the first panel of witnesses to discuss the programs under Title X of the 2008 Farm Bill. The programs discussed include the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, Pest and Disease Prevention, the National Clean Plant Network and others.
“We have capitalized on the accessibility of our farm to the public to build a loyal client base,” she said during testimony. “Our commitment to producing consistently high quality products in a sustainable fashion has created rapport with our customers. Having ample tools to achieve this is crucial. The USDA farm bill plays a significant role in this.
“Horticulture producers know firsthand what it is to balance very diverse demands. I simply ask, that if possible, to maintain the critical tools in the current farm bill and where conducive to expand them. Trust that our producers will be responsible with the resources they may be fortunate enough to receive,” Schacht said as she concluded her testimony.
She said that testifying to Congress was a very valuable experience and that she is glad the horticultural industry was represented in farm bill discussions.
“One of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s farm bill priorities is making sure that there are important programs in the farm bill for specialty crops including state block grants, specialty crop research and more,” said Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “We appreciate working with OPGMA on these important issues and we are glad that Lisa had the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Ohio’s produce farmers.”