With almost 60,000 farms, Pennsylvania produces two-thirds of America's mushrooms and ranks in the top five dairy producing states. Pennsylvania is an agricultural powerhouse and its farmers play an essential role in feeding America and bolstering the state's economy.
Senator Toomey has visited many farms and met with countless Pennsylvania farmers to get their take on the challenges they face every day. Their message has been clear-new federal regulations are making it increasingly difficult for farmers to make ends meet. All too often, Washington bureaucrats are oblivious to the real-world implications their actions have.
There is a growing bipartisan consensus that Congress should push back against unreasonable regulations. During his first term, Senator Toomey successfully passed legislation that allows states to ease federal regulations that unfairly hinder farmers from transporting their crops and farm equipment. Senator Toomey also worked with his colleagues to successfully pressure the Department of Labor into retracting a proposed rule that would have prevented young farmers from working on family farms.
Unfortunately, federal agencies are still trying to enact new regulations that will harm farmers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently devised two new massive frameworks to regulate rainwater on farmland. These regulations preempt Pennsylvania state law, threaten the viability of our farmers, and will have little if any impact on our environment.
While he shares the EPA's desire to have a clean and healthy environment, Senator Toomey believes that the agency needs to be a cooperative partner, not an overbearing regulator. Accordingly, he joined several Congressional colleagues in filing an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Pennsylvania farmers in their case against the EPA before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and he has cosponsored legislation to protect farms from excessive regulation. Subsequently, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is now preventing the EPA from enforcing its nationwide rainwater rule until the Court can more thoroughly review it.
Senator Toomey also has worked to ensure that our farmers and food producers are able to grow and create jobs by selling their products in the global marketplace. In 2014, Senator Toomey led a bipartisan effort to oppose the European Union's attempt to prohibit American dairy producers from using common cheese names such as feta, parmesan, and muenster. A majority of Senators joined his effort to oppose this unfair treatment.
As global trade negotiations continue, Senator Toomey wants to ensure that Pennsylvanians are given more opportunities to sell their cheese, vegetables, meat, and other high-quality products in the world's largest markets. Recently, Senator Toomey helped to pass the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which specifically instructs the administration to make bolstering export opportunities for American farmers a top priority in future trade negotiations.
These issues are just the tip of the iceberg for Pennsylvania's farmers. Federal red tape continues to grow and stifle our farmers, making it harder for them to stay in business. Senator Toomey will continue to fight against excessive, harmful regulations and for expanded market access. For the sake of our farm families and Pennsylvania's economy, this is a fight we cannot afford to lose.