WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) met with former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, President Bush’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At their meeting, Casey discussed issues important to Pennsylvanians including dairy, specialty crops and nutrition.
“Governor Schafer and I had a good conversation about nutrition programs and the struggles of Pennsylvania farmers,” said Casey. “Mr. Schafer was sympathetic to Pennsylvania’s problems and I look forward to discussing these issues as the Agriculture Committee considers his nomination.”
In the meeting, Senator Casey asked for Schafer’s support on cost of production for dairy farmers. Earlier this year, Senator Casey introduced the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act which would have strengthened producers’ prices and prohibited milk hauling and dairy processing costs from being charged to the dairy farmer.
Senator Casey reiterated the importance of paying more attention to specialty crops. Pennsylvania’s number one industry is agriculture. For the first time, specialty crops have received their own Subtitle in the 2007 Farm Bill.
Casey also discussed the importance of nutrition programs. Senator Casey asked Schafer for his support in maintaining the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), a program designed to provide nutritional assistance to senior citizens and low income mothers. The Bush Administration has been trying to zero-out funding for the program.
Senator Casey is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.