David Crowl, a dairy farmer from Street, was among more than 65 Dairy Farmers of America Inc. board members and young cooperators who visited Capitol Hill last month to discuss issues affecting the dairy industry.
DFA members and staff convened in Washington, D.C., for the cooperative's annual D.C. Board Meeting and Hill Visits, where they conducted more than 175 visits with legislators.
Crowl met Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, who represents northern Harford County, and his staff and the staffs of Maryland Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin.
As the fourth generation to farm on his family's land, Crowl and his two sons milk 200 cows and operate a custom forage-harvesting business.
Crowl's family has been a part of DFA and its predecessor cooperatives for more than 60 years.
He serves as a director of the Deer Creek Scenic River Advisory Board, is a DFA representative on Dairy One and has been a member of Dairylea's Loan Transaction Committee since 2008. He also is a life member of the University of Maryland Alumni Association and member of the Harford County Holstein Club, the Maryland Holstein Association, the National Dairy Shrine Club, the Holstein Association USA, the Deer Creek Watershed Association and the Maryland Farm Bureau. He also serves as an elder and trustee at his church.
Crowl previously served as past director for both the Harford County and Maryland State Dairy Herd Improvement associations.
Each year, this group of elected cooperative leaders travels to the nation's capital to emphasize the need for policy that is supportive of agriculture, and specifically dairy.
According to the cooperative, a key piece of discussion during legislative visits this year was the need for dairy policy reform to help minimize volatility in the industry.
DFA members encouraged Congress to pass dairy policy reform in 2011, ahead of the next Farm Bill, and voiced support for Foundation for the Future, a package of policy proposals that has been developed by National Milk Producers Federation and its farmer cooperative members, as well as other dairy groups.
Other topics included the dairy sector's need for a reliable, legal and stable labor force, as well as the importance of adapting renewable energy policy to strike a better balance among the needs of all segments of rural America.
Crowl also had the opportunity to hear from several influential speakers, including senior advisors to President Barack Obama and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
During the regular board meeting that coincided with the trip, attendees were joined by Michael Scuse, acting under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who briefed the group on actions taken by USDA to support the dairy sector during the recent low price cycle, efforts to open foreign markets to U.S. products and USDA's role in providing assistance to rural areas dealing with flooding and destructive tornadoes.