Pennsylvania investing in farm biosecurity to protect food supply


ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – The state has approved $340,000 in grants to ensure farm animals are born and stay healthy. The goal is to keep Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry running smoothly and to keep the local food supply safe.

Longernecker Hatchery in Elizabethtown is among the eight Pennsylvania hatcheries and farms receiving thousands of dollars.

It’s an investment to create protocol that keeps business running and protects the public’s food from disease and bacteria.

Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding toured the facility Friday, as leaders in poultry health discussed innovative ways to stay ahead of threats to farms.

“The biosecurity piece is something that everybody owns,” Redding said.

Some of the rules already in place at Longernecker’s include tracking chicken movements, wearing proper gear while inside the hatchery and vaccinating animals.

“This is the mixing room,” said Mark Martin, the vice president at Longernecker’s Hatchery. “We have two of them. This one is for Marek’s disease and that one is for Newcastle and bronchitis.”

“You have a convergence of public and private sector here,” said Redding.

Many agree it’s a lot easier to keep diseases out of farms rather than dealing with them once they arrive.

“It’s about the individual actions the farmers take and the industry takes,” said Redding.

There is still another $400,000 available through the Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence for farmers interested in similar projects.

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