Thompson Holds Hearing to Focus on the Farm Economy

May 17, 2016

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, held a hearing focused on the effect of environmental regulations and voluntary conservation programs on rural farms across the nation.  This is the first hearing in the Focus on the Farm Economy series, where the House Agriculture Committee’s six subcommittees will examine the growing influence of the federal government on rural farms. 

“The Farm Bill has helped farmers reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and preserve farmland for future generations,” Thompson said.  “However, federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, can also present challenges to farming through costly regulations that provide little environmental benefit, while undermining the productivity of farms,” added Thompson.

As part of the Focus on the Farm Economy series, the subcommittees will closely examine the 56 percent decline in net farm income over the past three years.  Today, members of the Conservation and Forestry subcommittee received testimony from a number of witnesses, including Richard Ebert, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. 

“Regulators must understand real-life agriculture,” testified Ebert, who is also the owner of a Westmoreland County dairy farm.  “We go the extra mile to protect our land and water, not because of any federal regulation, but because our livelihoods and families depend upon it,” said Ebert.