University Park, PA – Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today joined beef producers, promoters, and purveyors to celebrate that segment of the agriculture industry and share how it would benefit from targeted investments in local meat processing under Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed PA Farm Bill.
“Meat protein is an essential component of our diets, providing nutrients in a way unmatched by plant proteins,” said Redding. “So much of the growth in Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry comes from the expansion of animal agriculture across our state to meet the growing demand here and around the world for meat.
“We want to help smaller or new butcher shops to continue to offer local, in-demand services to farmers and consumers across our state, which is why this component of the agriculture industry has received important recognition in the PA Farm Bill,” he said.
The PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive legislative package addressing the needs of Pennsylvania’s farmers and agribusiness community. It would incentivize access to meat processing inspections to encourage small or new producers by reimbursing federal meat inspection costs and subsidizing the first-time purchase of equipment needed for federal compliance.
It would also assist the livestock industry by establishing the Center for Animal Agriculture Excellence to help agribusinesses address issues like expanding processing capacity, transition assistance, technical assistance, food safety, and establishing industrial hemp as an approved animal feed.
The legislation, which provides support for and continued investments in the commonwealth’s agriculture industry, was modeled after the governor’s six-point plan to cultivate future generations of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. It invests $24 million dollars in agriculture-related issues from rapid response, to education, to business assistance.
Other highlights of the legislation include:
- Creating the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to serve as a resource to help every farmer create a business plan, transition plan, or succession plan to ensure the best chance of success.
- Incentivizing the transfer of preserved farmland to a new or beginning farmer through the Realty Transfer Tax Exemption.
- Creating the Conservation Excellence Grant Program to offer financial and technical assistance to farmers to install and implement conservation best management practices.
- Expanding the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) tax credits by $3 million to increase the lifetime cap and increase availability.
- Developing the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program to fund research and development, organic transition assistance, value-added processing, and marketing grants in support of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry.
- Expanding the allowable width for the use of implements of husbandry on roads from 16 feet to 18 feet.
- Improving agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, sharing of resources, and support for community development efforts.
- Ensuring a quick response to agricultural disasters--including utilizing animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak; or providing an immediate response to a foodborne illness—through the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account.
- Increasing knowledge and awareness of agricultural issues within the commonwealth through the Agriculture and Youth Organization Grant Program; and providing exposure to child nutrition and agriculture through the Farm to School Grant Program.
- Making Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state by further enhancing the growth of the organic industry.
- Supporting the PA Preferred program and to bolster enrollment in the Homegrown by Heroes Program.
- Creating the state-level Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to invest in and encourage farming of high-priority horticultural crops like hemp, hops, and hardwoods.
For more information about the PA Farm Bill and Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, visit the Department of Agriculture website.
Redding also presented a proclamation of May Beef Month from Governor Wolf, which reads:
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is home to more than 519,000 beef cattle and calves on nearly 12,000 farms, with gross receipts of nearly $200 million for beef stock; and
WHEREAS, many of the commonwealth’s dairy cattle ultimately enter the nation’s beef supply chain, offering those producers additional income, valuing the state’s 1.6 million total cattle, including calves, and its beef industry at about $2 billion on nearly 23,000 beef and dairy operations, and ranking the state fourth in the nation in veal production; and
WHEREAS, the commonwealth’s veal, beef, and dairy beef industries are served by the Pennsylvania Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, which helps to strengthen consumer confidence in beef by focusing the industry’s attention on the strategies that promote beef quality and safety through science, research, and education; and
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Beef Council, through administering the BQA program, has educated more than 5,000 producers who are now BQA certified, and bridges the gap between farm and fork through consumer outreach and education about beef products and the beef industry; and
WHEREAS, from sirloin steak to ground chuck, beef provides consumers with a rich supply of essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, and protein, and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s beef producers are stewards of the land, using the state’s natural resources to grow nutrient-dense and healthy food, while promoting environmental practices that will allow their farms to be passed down to future generations; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s beef industry is committed and responsive to animal and human health issues, in which producers and consumers can be assured that Pennsylvania beef products are safe and wholesome.
THEREFORE, in recognition of the commonwealth’s committed beef producers and nationally recognized beef industry, I, Tom Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 2019 BEEF MONTH in Pennsylvania. As we enter the summer grilling season, I urge all citizens to take advantage of the commonwealth's bountiful supply of beef while recognizing the industry's contributions to our economy and quality of life.
GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, this first day of May two thousand nineteen, the year of the commonwealth the two hundred forty-third.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628
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