Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
Think your job is tough? Try getting up at 4 a.m. in the cold and dark and coaxing a reluctant cow to her milking station.
That’s how Mark Fulton starts every day … with 100 cows. He is a third-generation dairy farmer in South Newton Township near Shippensburg in Cumberland County. And, he LOVES his job. We’ll meet Mark and talk about farming, the wonder of the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the price of milk (yeah, it’s complicated) plus take your questions and comments tonight at 8 on Smart Talk. Join the conversation live at 1-800-729-7532.
“I like working with the animals. I have a lot of pride in seeing a calf born, raising it and just following it all the way through,” Mark says. “Each one has its own personality,” he chuckles. “They’re just like people!” Mark and his dad run Fulton’s Dairy and harvest 450 acres of corn, hay and smaller grains that they feed their animals. They pasteurize and bottle their own milk which they sell directly to customers and to wholesalers. Fulton’s Dairy products, which include tea and lemonade, can be found in mom-and-pop stores around Shippensburg.
Like many Pennsylvania farmers, the Fultons waited anxiously for Congress to approve a new farm bill before the New Year arrived to avoid the so-called, “milk cliff.” The fear was that without new legislation by January 1, milk prices would skyrocket perhaps to as much as $7 a gallon. Well, none of that happened. Lawmakers, instead, voted to extend the current farm bill through Sept. 30, 2013. Mark O’Neill, media relations director for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, says what farmers most crave is stability and predictability from lawmakers. They prefer to plant fields and buy and sell products and animals based on a predictable financial situation. We’ll talk with O’Neill about the effects of federal legislation on the fortunes of Pennsylvania farmers.
If you haven’t been to the Farm Show, you better hitch up your saddle and mosey on over. It ends on Saturday, January 12. As Smart Talk producer Heather Woolridge will show us, the Farm Show has something for the kid in each of us.
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