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Governor Shapiro’s Budget Spurs Innovation, Expands Opportunity, Grows Future of Pennsylvania Agriculture


Harrisburg, PA – Governor Josh Shapiro's budget proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year makes critical investments in the future of Pennsylvania agriculture through funding to protect valuable farmland, furthering agriculture emergency preparedness and response, expanding fresh food resources, and increasing access to education.

"Growing and maintaining Pennsylvania's $132.5 billion agriculture industry takes targeted, thoughtful investments and resources for innovation," said Secretary Russell Redding. "Governor Shapiro's proposed budget makes it clear that he values Pennsylvania farmers and the hard work we do to keep Pennsylvanians safe and keep them fed. We look forward to working with the Governor, General Assembly, and our industry partners throughout the budget process."

Below are several of the key investments in the 2023-24 proposed budget:

Commitment to Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Response

Pennsylvania's $7.1 billion poultry industry continues to face a serious threat from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The proposed budget provides $34 million to support the department's work to continue to combat and respond to HPAI, other agricultural emergencies and disasters, and invasive species in the commonwealth.

This funding adds $25 million to the reimbursement grant program to help affected poultry producers recover from losses sustained from responding to the disease and remains the only such state-level fund in the nation. It also continues to support the animal diagnostic laboratory system laboratories to protect our farms and food system through a $6 million addition.

In addition, $3 million will be used to combat spotted lanternfly and other invasive species.

Innovative Investments to Improve Agricultural Programs and Fresh Food Resources

Pennsylvania is a national leader in organic agriculture and is seeing tremendous growth in this lucrative market for farmers. The 2023-24 budget proposal provides $1 million to create a new Organic Center of Excellence, which will grow the state's ability to support this sector of the industry.

This budget also includes $500,000 to create a Center for Plant Excellence that will expand supply chain opportunities and boost resources available to Pennsylvania's diverse plant industries.

This proposal will also help more Pennsylvanians access fresh, quality produce, and other farm products. A $2 million investment in the Fresh Food Financing Initiative will contribute to better health outcomes by improving access to PA-grown, processed, and produced foods, including fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products, and meat products, and expanding availability of PA Preferred products. This funding will stimulate investment in lower-income rural and urban communities and in food retailers owned by people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Continuing the Nation's First and Only State-level Farm Bill

This proposal would fully fund the Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the fifth year at $13.8 million. The first and only state farm bill in the nation, the PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive package of initiatives and funding that resulted from bipartisan action to grow a stronger, more resilient agriculture industry.

Through the PA Farm Bill, Pennsylvania has invested more than $100 million in growing opportunities and resources, removing barriers that keep young people and career changers from entering the field, and building the infrastructure agriculture businesses need to succeed.

Preserving Farmland for Future Generations

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The Farmland Preservation Program helps ensure that resources will be available to produce food and feed Pennsylvania's economy. The budget provides $2.5 million for technical and financial assistance resources to counties to help protect their investments by ensuring that preserved farms are managed to improve soil and water resources."

Improving Farmer Health and Safety

Farmer safety and mental health continue to be significant challenges in agriculture. Farming has some of the highest rates of suicide of any occupation. Governor Shapiro's budget proposal invests a new $200,000 to further existing federal funding to provide support services such as a mental health hotline, specialized trainings, and outreach to the agricultural community.

Growing the Ag Workforce by Supporting Farmer Veterans

Workforce issues impact many industries in Pennsylvania, including agriculture. The budget proposal invests $300,000 to continue supporting military veterans who, after serving their country, continue to serve their communities through agriculture.

Investing in Children and Students

Everyone Pennsylvanian should have the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed through affordable options to pursue secondary education. Pennsylvania's diverse postsecondary institutions create a wealth of options for career pathways, including those in agriculture. This budget provides an increase to:

  • $58.9 million for the Transfer to Agricultural College Land Scrip Fund, a $1.2 million increase
  • $32.3 million for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, a $633,000 increase
  • $1.9 million for the University of Pennsylvania Center for Infectious Disease, a $38,000 increase

Addressing Food Access and Security

Recently, federal emergency benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ended, leaving the charitable food system overwhelmed, with PA food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens filling the void and feeding Pennsylvanians in need.

The Governor proposed a new state investment in SNAP to raise the minimum monthly benefit by 50 percent to help families have access to enough fresh, healthy food.

The proposed budget also includes free breakfast to every child in Pennsylvania public schools.

Focus on Rural Development

In addition, Governor Shapiro's focus on rural community revitalization will help ensure that farmers in rural communities have improved access to health care, high-speed internet, and capital. The Governor's proposed investments in economic and workforce development and access to quality education, will further ensure that these deserving communities are not left out of our shared prosperity.

For more information on Governor Shapiro's 2023-24 budget proposal, visit For more about investments to protect and grow Pennsylvania's $132.5 billion agriculture industry, visit

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