What is involved in getting a nutritious, quality food product to your dinner table? More than the average consumer realizes. Earlier this week, members of PennAg Industries Association and the National Federation of Independent Business met in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania, at the Manbeck Farm as part of the recently launched program “Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations." This is a national effort focused on protecting small businesses and American jobs from the negative impacts of regulations recently proposed by the Obama Administration.

PennAg Industries Association
This event highlighted the various rules and regulations that the agriculture community complies with on a daily basis in their efforts to feed the growing population, where currently one in five children in the United States currently go to bed hungry.

Production agriculture was represented by Connie Manbeck, a swine and grain producer. Connie shared the various state and national programs that her farm complies with daily.

“Farmers do everything possible to keep water safe, stop erosion and take good care of the animals,” Manbeck said. “All these regulations are too much for small farms.”

Having an adequate workforce is a necessity in getting the food products from the farm to the table. Michael Melhorn of MainJoy Unlimited, shared the struggles of the poultry industry in obtaining an adequate workforce. This issue is not unique to the poultry industry; it is facing all sectors of agriculture.


According to Melhorn, “One essential worker supports 16 traditional worker positions in the USA."

He said the skills needed for today’s agriculture are not being taught in schools, and there needs to be a structured program that brings this needed workforce of essential workers to business owners.

The final step after raising and harvesting the products is the transportation stage. Steve Lehman, Lehman Ag Service, highlighted the various struggles and hurdles that are encountered when hauling on roads.

Lehman asked, “What happened to simplicity? Today it takes 30 pages of written details to tell someone something that could have been summarized on one page."

To haul manure from a farm to fields where it is land applied based on crop needs, the driver of the tractor must be a “certified manure hauler,” yet to haul other forms of fertilizer, no certification is needed.

In addition, various state agencies struggle with defining what is legal and what is not legal in terms of transportation equipment on the road.

The message Lehman drove home was, “If you have laws and regulations, then enforce them. When you pass a bill that impacts agriculture, then check with those in agriculture to see how it will impact them.” PD

Mike Melhorn, speaking, and Steve Lehman, left, were two business owners who participated in the discussion about regulations for small businesses. Photo by Jennifer Reed-Harry.

In August 2011, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), launched Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, a national effort focused on protecting small businesses and American jobs from the negative impacts of regulations recently proposed by the Obama Administration. This broad coalition of small businesses, local officials, manufacturers, farmers, and other associations seeks to give voice to the countless Americans whose jobs and livelihood will be negatively impacted by the mountain of costly proposed regulations and red tape. To date, more than 1,000 businesses and associations across the country have joined the coalition to ensure government regulations don’t cost American jobs or slow our economic recovery.

PennAg Industries Association is an agriculture trade association with more than 600 business members and has been in existence since 1878. PennAg’s mission focuses on working to create and maintain an effective, viable and competitive environment for Pennsylvania agribusiness to grow and prosper.