Home Politics Wolf funds PA Farm Bill for third time

Wolf funds PA Farm Bill for third time

The bill has been funded for $13.6 million and aims to grow a stronger agriculture industry

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Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly funded the Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the third time at $13.6 million. The bill is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive set of programs that resulted from bipartisan action to grow a stronger, more resilient agriculture industry.

“While Pennsylvania agriculture has been important to our history, it’s even more critical to our future,” said Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This industry holds solutions for most significant issues of our time, from jobs, to the environment and climate, to the availability and accessibility of food, and even our ability to address social injustice. This continued investment in Pennsylvania agriculture is a commitment by the Wolf Administration to a resilient commonwealth with a bright future for every single person.”

Over the past three years, the PA Farm Bill has worked to:

– Support Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and foster innovation to support ever-changing markets and consumer preferences
– Address food insecurity in Pennsylvania’s urban spaces by growing agricultural infrastructure in areas affected by systemic deprivation of fresh, nutritious foods
– Promote agricultural awareness in Pennsylvania’s youngest residents to cultivate a strong future workforce for Pennsylvania agriculture, which is facing increasing vacancies due to an aging workforce and continual innovation and technological advancements
– Increase awareness and availability of local Pennsylvania products to meet consumer demands for local food and reduced food miles
– Support sustainable conservation practices that take care of Pennsylvania’s natural resources and further ensure the security, availability and accessibility of food
– Support Pennsylvania’s farm families and small agribusinesses to ensure sound business and transition plans for the continuity of agriculture

Pennsylvania agriculture is a $132.5 billion industry that supports more than 590,000 jobs in the commonwealth that pay nearly $33 billion in wages annually. As the industry grows and adapts, Redding said it must be supported in new ways to ensure its continued success.

The 2021-22 PA Budget funds the PA Farm Bill at $13.6 million, the same level of funding received in 2020, and includes the following:

– PA Agricultural Business Development Center, funded at $2 million to serve as a resource to create business, transition or succession plans
– Realty Transfer Tax Exemption for any transfer of preserved farmland to a qualified beginning farmer
– Center for Poultry & Livestock Excellence, funded at $1 million, to support the animal ag industry with biosecurity planning and disease prevention, processing capacity, and food safety and quality assurance
– Incentivizing Access to Meat Processing Inspections, funded at $500,000, to encourage access to new and expanded markets for small or new producers
– Conservation Excellence Grant Program, funded at $2 million, to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers to install and implement best management practices
– Agriculture Linked Investment Program, funded at $500,000, to reestablish this low-interest loan program for the implementation of best management practices
– Agriculture and Youth Grant Program, funded at $500,000, to reestablish this program to fund agricultural and youth organizations to help increase knowledge and awareness of agriculture in the commonwealth
– The PA Farm to School Grant Program, funded at $500,000, to improve childhood nutrition while increasing exposure to agriculture
– PA Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account, funded at $3 million, to allow for quick response to agricultural disasters
– PA Preferred Organic, funded at $1.6 million, to make PA the nation’s leading organic state by further enhancing the growth of the organic industry
– PA Preferred Program, funded at an additional $1 million, to support the program and to bolster enrollment in Homegrown by Heroes
– Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, funded at $500,000, to invest in and encourage farming of high-priority horticultural crops like hemp, hops and hardwoods
– Urban Agriculture, funded at $500,000, to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of products, sharing of resources and support development efforts

Visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill for more information.

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