HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Monday, applauded the state legislature for once again funding Governor Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill in the 2020-21 Pennsylvania Budget. The first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill was signed into law in July 2019 and was transformative for the commonwealth’s leading industry.
“We began this journey with the Pennsylvania Farm Bill two years ago, when Governor Wolf laid out his vision to strengthen Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and secure a prosperous future,” said Redding. “And while no one could predict the toils of 2020, the governor’s 2019 multi-million dollar investment to support the industry that sustains life for us all put infrastructure in place that made 2020 a little less painful for some, and put others in a position to pivot and meet radically altered demand.
“That foresight into what this industry and our commonwealth’s food supply chain needed was spot on, and we look forward to using this next round of funding to strengthen the weak links found as we maneuvered a pandemic,” added Redding.
As Pennsylvania’s dairy industry was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. most notably causing farmers to dump fresh, nutritious milk down the drain. However, some dairy farmers had already diversified their markets and found new opportunities through the PA Farm Bill’s $5 million Dairy Investment Program. The program offered dairy farmers an opportunity to sustain and grow their business through on-farm innovation, organic transition, and diversification through value-added products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. The 2019 program funded 46 projects.