For Immediate Release:
Contact: William Whisler, Member Communications Director
717-724-9425 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMP HILL – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is pleased that the 2022-23 state budget will institute a program for conservation funding on farms, with $220 million in funding to create the Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) to the clean streams fund, aimed at reducing nutrient and sediment runoff, which comes as a huge victory for farmers as PFB’s biggest legislative ask of the year.
While information regarding how the funds will be administered to county conservation districts is not yet available, a burden will be lifted off a lot of farmers that can now implement their best land management practices on their properties to keep the environmental impacts to a minimum.
As a whole, conservation districts will receive an increase of $6.8 million, with $5 million coming from the Department of Environmental Protection and the other $1.8 million coming through the Department of Agriculture.
The 2022-23 state budget also notably includes $32 million to help combat avian influenza, with $25 million of the funding coming in the form of indemnity payments to the impacted farmers. An additional $6 million is available to increase laboratory surveillance activities while another $1 million was allocated for additional staffing for the Department of Agriculture.
An increase of funds to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission was also a part of the 2022-23 budget, which is a win for Pennsylvania farmers. When the original budget proposal was rolled out the program was essentially going to be cut, but the final iteration of the budget saw the commission reinstituted with an increase in funding.
Agricultural research and extension were given an increase of five percent, which is just shy of $3 million worth of funding for the 2022-23 year.
The budget also reinstates a $5 million general fund appropriation for the Farm Show, reducing the reliance on Race Horse Development Fund dollars. The budget increases funding for the State Food Purchase Program by $2 million as well, to provide emergency food assistance and purchase surplus agricultural products.
Overall, the Department of Agriculture will see just shy of a 30 percent increase this year in funding.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert shared the following thoughts on the 2022-23 state budget:
“I’m really happy with the passage of the state budget this year with agriculture being the number one industry. We had our priorities of the extension service and the diagnostics lab supported. It really shows legislative support for the ag industry.
In addition, the added funding for conservation will help us reach our 2025 water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay. We have a lot more funding resources to go back to the conservation districts to work toward that goal so farmers can implement practices to reach those goals.”
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.