Regional members of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau met Monday night at the Genetti Hotel for their fifth annual dinner.
Members from Lycoming, Clinton, Bradford, Sullivan, Tioga, Potter, McKean and Centre counties heard from U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino-R, Cogan Station, about the status of the farm bill.
Marino said the bill, which defines federal agricultural policies, has stalled after being voted out of committee in the House of Representatives.
"We want a five-year plan. We don't want a six-month extension," he said. "There should be no reason why we shouldn't get five years."
Marino said the focus is on the details of the bill, which according to him, "have very little to do with farming and having farms."
"Eighty percent of the farm bill is welfare and food stamps," he said.
Marino said the food stamp issue must be addressed.
"Make it for those who are entitled, not just hand it out," he said.
The congressman also said he is working on behalf of farmers who are up against burdensome government regulation.
He said a law was defeated that would have prohibited children under age 16 from operating any kind of farm machinery.
"Have you ever been to a farm?" he said he asked of a Department of Labor staffer. "It's a common sense-issue that Washington doesn't understand."
Marino said farmers also will face big increases in payroll and income taxes next year unless Congress intercedes in the so-called looming "fiscal cliff."
"It will really hurt millions of farmers," he said.
Dr. MeeCee Baker, former faculty member at Penn State University and executive with the state Department of Agriculture under the Rendell administration, was the guest speaker.
Bureau members also recognized Patty Beck Henry, retiring 84th Legislative District aide under former representatives Al Bush, Brett Feese and present Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy.