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PA Farm Bill to invest over $23M in state’s agriculture industry

Andrew Bowman, Pennsylvania 4-H president, right, watches as Governor Tom Wolf signs into law new legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Farm Bill inside the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol building in Harrisburg on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo: Submitted)

Andrew Bowman, Pennsylvania 4-H president, right, watches as Governor Tom Wolf signs into law new legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Farm Bill inside the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol building in Harrisburg on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo: Submitted)

Governor Wolf signed the PA Farm Bill into law July 1, enacting legislation that will support the agriculture industry across the state.The bill will make $23.1 million in strategic investments into the state’s largest industry, according to a news release.

Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry provides a $135.7 billion economic impact statewide, representing close to 18 percent of the state’s gross product and supporting nearly 580,000 people, according to a 2018 Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture report.

“The agricultural industry is the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy,” Gov. Wolf said. “The PA Farm Bill is bold, aggressive, and necessary to protect our farming heritage and inspire the next generation of Pennsylvania farmers.”

The PA Farm Bill will include investing $2 million to create the Agriculture Business Development Center, which will support business planning services for Pennsylvania farmers. 

The bill will also create tax exemptions for qualified beginning farmers, invest $5 million into Pennsylvania’s Dairy Investment Program to support the state’s dairy industry and utilize $500,000 to reimburse the cost of meat processing inspections for small farmers and butchers.

“In my 20 years of public service, this is the largest investment I’ve ever seen made in Pennsylvania agriculture,” said Russell Redding, state Secretary of Agriculture.

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