Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) is thrilled that state funding will soon be available for critical agriculture programs, including more than $50 million to avoid the anticipated shutdown of Agriculture Research facilities and Cooperative Extension offices across the Commonwealth.
Governor Tom Wolf’s decision not to veto House Bill 1801 effectively completes the 2015-16 state budget, which will automatically go into effect without the Governor’s signature.
“The influx of state money will save vital agriculture research and extension programs administered by Penn State University, which are so critical to farmers, the public and the state’s economy,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “In addition, its saves more than 1,100 jobs at Penn State and ensures that Pennsylvania does not become the first state in the nation to achieve the dubious honor of losing its Land Grant University.”
The new budget also provides $1.1 million for Agriculture Excellence programs, more than $1.5 million for Agriculture Research conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, $250,000 for Agriculture Exports, and $177,000 each for the Dairy Show and Livestock Show. Meanwhile, the Animal Health Commission will receive $5.35 million, the Veterinary Lab System will get $5.3 million and Pennsylvania Fairs will acquire $4 million through the Racehorse Development Fund.
“With the planting season right around the corner and the possible risk of new pests, diseases, avian influenza or countless other issues that challenge agriculture, farmers and the public need assurances that vital services and personnel will be on the job to identify, contain or negate those problems. The funding included in the new state budget should provide those assurance for agriculture,” said Ebert.