Featured photo: Columbia County farmer and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) immediate past President Carl T. Shaffer (second from left) accepts the Barnraiser Award from PFB President Rick Ebert (third from left). Shaffer receives PFB’s highest individual award, which recognizes individuals who have spent a lifetime in dedicated leadership to the agricultural community. Also pictured are the recipients wife, Linda Shaffer, and PFB Administrative Secretary Louis Sallie.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) presented Columbia County farmer and immediate PFB past President Carl Shaffer with the Barnraiser Award to recognize his long history of public service to the agricultural community during PFB’s 65th Annual Meeting. The Barnraiser Award, which is PFB’s highest honor, recognizes individuals who have spent a lifetime in dedicated leadership to the agricultural community.

“This is truly an honor when you consider all the great people who have been recognized with this award.  I’m humbled to be part of that group, but I must emphasize that much of my success is directly related to the efforts and support of Farm Bureau members, who worked with me to achieve our goals over the years,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,800 acres in Mifflin Township, served as PFB President for 10 years and PFB Vice President for 10 years. He also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Board of Directors and AFBF’s Executive Committee. Shaffer has been recognized for leadership and achievement on numerous occasions, including being named a Master Farmer in 1996.

“Carl piled up a long list of achievements during his tenure in leadership with Farm Bureau,” said PFB President Rick Ebert.  “Aside from many legislative victories, Carl also played a major role in expanding the reach of our Mobile Agriculture Education Science Lab program, which now reaches about 100,000 grade school students each year.”

PFB notes that Shaffer spearheaded efforts to pass legislation providing a major boost in transportation funding to fix deteriorating roads and bridges across Pennsylvania and fought against outside interests attempting to expand Sunday hunting in the Commonwealth.  He has also been at the center of attention, both nationally and statewide, speaking out against excessive regulations impacting agriculture.

Shaffer, however, cites the enactment of Act 38, also known as ACRE, as his greatest accomplishment as president of the state’s largest farm organization.  The law created a process by which the state Attorney General’s office would review enacted or proposed local agriculture ordinances to make sure they were in compliance with state law.  It also provided the Attorney General the discretion to bring legal action against a local government in Commonwealth Court to invalidate the enforcement of an unauthorized local ordinance.

“ACRE is a major success story, providing assurances for farm families whose futures were threatened by illegally restrictive local ordinances.  ACRE is also helpful for local government officials, who may not have fully understood the ramifications or unintended consequence of their unauthorized ordinances,” added Shaffer.

“Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office continues to review cases to ensure that farmers engaged in normal agriculture practices are not unfairly limited by local ordinances.”

Shaffer becomes only the 13th recipient of the award in the 65-year history of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.  Former Pennsylvania Governor Richard “Dick” Thornburgh received the first award in 1983.  The last Barnraiser awards where handed out in 2009, when former Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Robert Steele and former state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff received the honors.