By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Helping to ensure that agriculture remains one of Pennsylvania’s top industries and continues to help feed the world, the 2018-19 state budget, which took effect July 1, made several critical investments to address the industry’s most pressing challenges.
To assist dairy farmers who are battling a changing market, $5 million will help with research and development programs, along with grants for sustaining the viability of their operations. Pennsylvania dairy farming supports 52,000 jobs and contributes $14.7 billion to the state’s economy.
Another $3 million will be directed to help combat the spotted lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted insect native to Southeast Asia that threatens to destroy $18 billion worth of agricultural commodities, mainly apples, grapes and hardwoods. This funding will help increase detection and control efforts, and coordinate multi-agency response, outreach and training.
Several ag line items were also restored or increased in this year’s budget, including agricultural excellence; agricultural research; agricultural promotion, education and exports; hardwoods research and promotion; Livestock and Open Dairy shows; state food purchase; and food marketing and research.
On a related note, Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry will be on full display next month during Ag Progress Days near State College. Billed as one of the country’s largest outdoor agricultural expositions, the event is expected to draw more than 45,000 people Aug. 14-16 to learn more about the science and business of agriculture production.
Sponsored by Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the event attracts nearly 500 exhibitors from 34 states and Canada, with more than 60 percent directly or indirectly involved in ag production.
In addition to the exhibits and trade show, attendees can participate in crop displays, machinery demonstrations, guided research tours, family and youth activities, horse exhibitions and workshops.
No admission fee is charged, and parking is free. For more information on Ag Progress Days, visit https://agsci.psu.edu/apd
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office