In a continued effort to build a strong relationship between the Pennsylvania Deer industry and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB)(a 63,000 member group) the PDFA board unanimously voted to be a Gold Sponsor of the annual PFB meeting. The Annual meeting is a gathering of farmers from across every county of the state to vote on annual policy, attend farm related seminars, and to enjoy fellowship amongst the agricultural community. The event was held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Hershey, PA.

An important component of the meeting is discussion, debate, and voting on annual policies that will be pursued by the PFB team in the coming year. This process is truly a grassroots effort in developing policy on the issues that farmers want worked on. Policy development starts at the county Farm Bureau level, all policy approved at the county level is then presented at the annual meeting for a final vote. Each policy is discussed and debated on the delegate floor during the meeting; a final vote is taken on each policy to determine if it will be on the PFB’s annual agenda. I am happy to say that four policies were created from PDFA members in their respective county Farm Bureau groups that made it to the state meeting. All deer farm related polices made it through the voting process (approved) and will be on the PFB annual agenda. I am extremely grateful for the work of our members and PFB for working on these polices, I am hopeful that this cooperative effort will allow for more positive changes to be made for deer farmers across the state.

The sponsorship gave PDFA multiple branding and recognition opportunities throughout the event. Also included, were invitations for PDFA leadership to attend the Tuesday evening banquet and sponsor reception. Vice President Josh Newton, Secretary Todd Gehringer, Board Member Mike Gee, and myself attended the banquet and reception. I want to those guys for taking the time to attend the event. The banquet proved to be an extremely well attended event, with hundreds in attendance and some of the big political players in the agriculture community, including guest speaker, Secretary of Agriculture Russel Reading.

I am grateful that the PDFA Team realizes the importance of growing our relationship with PFB, and the opportunities our farmers can realize from a cooperative effort in working with PFB. It is important that every single deer farmer not only is an active member of PDFA, but I also ask that every deer farmer become an active and engaged member of the PFB as well. There is no excuse why every county farm bureau shouldn’t know a deer farmer in their region/county. The PFB is dedicated to helping farmers, and we have seen the willingness to help with deer farming issues, but we all need to get involved to build and strengthen our relationship into the future. Again, I want to thank all of the PDFA members and PFB members who helped continue to build our relationship in 2018 and I look forward to our work in 2019.

Jarrid Barry