Letter to the editor | No friend to farmers

April 18, 2014 

I read recently that Sen. Pat Toomey has been visiting dairies in an effort to show concern for them by showcasing his desire to end Europe’s efforts to prohibit America from using certain homegrown names for cheese.

But except for a photo with cows, I don’t think his concern for dairy farmers goes very deep.

Toomey recently voted against the agricultural bill that would have provided emergency assistance to family farms if a catastrophic disease expectantly spreads within a herd.

At the same time, his “no” vote was against a self-insurance program for dairy farmers in which they pay premiums to have insurance available if there is a sudden rise in the cost of farm feed or a sharp drop in the price of milk, in order not to go bankrupt.

This new program is a safety net for dairy farmers that they pay for themselves to protect their family farms during recessionary periods such as 2007 to 2009, when they lost $20 billion in equity when the program was not available.

The agricultural bill also would have provided better access to broadband Internet services to rural communities in Pennsylvania.

How could Toomey turn his back on our neighborhood farms, even for programs they themselves pay for?

A photo opportunity with a cow is one thing, but voting to support our dairy farmers in what really matters is another.

Donald N. Wilver Jr., White Deer Township

The writer is a White Deer Township supervisor.

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