Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for the initial release of a draft federal Farm Bill, legislation that provides funding and guidelines for farm and food programs in the United States. While noting the challenges of crafting such a wide-ranging piece of legislation, Redding said the bill contains a number of positive aspects for Pennsylvania agriculture, but also areas that are in need of improvement and that require further evaluation.
“The importance of the federal Farm Bill to Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry cannot be overstated,” said Redding. “Farm Bill programs are investments in production agriculture, our environment, our economy and our people. I appreciate the work of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture to get us to this point, including the members of our own delegation who serve on the committee, Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Dwight Evans.
“Passing a final bill is never an easy task, but we look forward to working with our U.S. representatives and stakeholders to ensure the best interests of our food and agriculture industries, as well as rural Pennsylvania, are considered throughout the process.”
At the direction of Governor Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has been actively engaging in conversations around the Farm Bill. Secretary Redding has written to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to convey the commonwealth’s priorities, such as ensuring that resources, support, and tools are available to dairy farmers; that industrial hemp be classified as an agricultural commodity; that more funding more funding is made available to combat invasive species like the Spotted Lanternfly; and that the federal government continue to support vital farmland preservation and conservation programs that benefit water quality. In addition, the department is eager to see that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food assistance to nearly 2,000,000 Pennsylvania residents, while also supporting Pennsylvania growers, processors, and distributors, is fully funded.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s programs and services, or to read the state’s Agriculture Economic Impact Study, visit the department’s website at agriculture.pa.gov.