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Wolf Administration Announces Nearly $1.3 Million in Grants to Advance Pennsylvania Agriculture and Food Industry


Harrisburg, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today announced $1.286 million in grants to 15 Pennsylvania universities and research organizations to advance Pennsylvania’s $135.7 billion agriculture and food industry.

“Agriculture cannot grow as an industry without investing in research and development to stay on top of trends and tackle issues like diseases and pests,” said Secretary Redding. “Supporting cutting-edge research is an investment that puts Pennsylvania agriculture in a better position to generate more income for our producers, create new jobs, and feed a growing world population.”

The grants will fund research that aims to combat animal and plant diseases and pests; strengthen farm productivity; improve soil and water quality; protect Pennsylvania’s pollinators and environment; and improve productivity and sustainability for Pennsylvania farmers and food processors. The department gave special consideration in awarding grants to proposals supporting economically stressed dairy farmers, addressing the impact of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly, and bolstering growth trends in urban and organic agriculture.

Over the past four years, the Wolf Administration has invested more than $50 million in agriculture-related economic development projects; increased support for workforce development and agricultural education to help prepare students and workers for 75,000 anticipated job openings in the industry over the next decade; and increased funding for farmland preservation by 45 percent. The administration has also begun work to expand broadband access to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, including more than half a million in rural communities.

Grant recipients and amounts include:

Animal health research

  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─  Analysis of the frequency of tick-borne diseases in Pennsylvania livestock, using necropsies ─ $23,047
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Dynamics of antimicrobial resistance in the respiratory flora of dairy calves ─ $20,395
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Development of blood test to detect antibodies against Influenza D viruses in cattle ─ $27,632
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Gene sequencing to determine the evolution of Bovine Corona viruses in Pennsylvania and the implications for animal and human health ─ $21,052
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Molecular and genetic diversity of Bovine Rotavirus in Pennsylvania calves, using gene sequencing and bioinformatic analyses ─ $23,950
  • Penn State University Department of Entomology ─ Development of an effective, safe, and organic-friendly biopesticide for muscoid fly control ─ $27,540
  • University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine ─ Determination of causes of sow lameness in group-housed sows ─ $23,346
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine ─ Novel technologies for mitigating microbial pollution on livestock farms ─ $28,155
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine ─ Clostridium difficile on dairy farms and farm workers ─ $16,467
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Immunologic correlates of avian reovirus: developing a diagnostic and serotyping ELISA (enzyme test) for turkey reovirus D ─ $25,000
  • University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center, School of Veterinary Medicine ─ Improving health and productivity in Holstein dairy heifers fed acidified colostrum: evaluation of formic acid treatment of colostrum on immunoglobulin function ─ $39,162
  • Penn State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences ─ Field study of plant molybdenum uptake and animal copper deficiency ─ $34,652
  • University of Pennsylvania PADLS New Bolton Center Toxicology Laboratory ─ A sensitive screening method for carbamates and organophosphates in liver ─ $17,760
  • University of Pennsylvania PADLS New Bolton Center Toxicology Laboratory ─ Influence of hemolysis on nutritional mineral analysis of bovine and equine serum ─ $10,940

Plant, insect, environmental, and economic research

  • Penn State University ─ 2019-2020 Pennsylvania farm conservation practices inventory: documenting and reporting practices to the Chesapeake Bay Program ─ $140,000
  • Penn State University ─ Evaluating the impacts of Spotted Lanternfly on grapevine health to develop more targeted control approaches ─ $100,000
  • Penn State University ─ Host tree preference and fitness of Spotted Lanternfly among common woody ornamentals: implications for host tree health ─ $90,000
  • Penn State University ─ Protecting bees from fungicides applied to tree fruits and from insecticides used to control Spotted Lanternfly  ─  $90,000
  • Temple University ─ Furthering computational approaches for modeling, predicting and controlling Spotted Lanternfly invasion and its economic impact ─ $75,000
  • Foundation of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County ─ Assessing the significance of off-farm income to the sustainability of Pennsylvania’s small farms ─ $75,000
  • Penn State University ─ Exploring factors affecting survival of Spotted Lanternfly during the dormant and spring period ─ $67,000
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture ─ Connecting soil health and best management practices with on-farm citizen science ─ $60,000
  • Penn State University ─ Effects of fat content information framing on milk preference and perceived healthfulness ─ $51,000
  • Drexel University ─ New dairy-based food product development and sensory analysis of consumer preference ─ $33,000
  • Western PA Conservancy ─ Surveys to support the assessment and conservation of at-risk butterflies ─ $30,000 
  • American Mushroom Institute ─ Beneficial uses of mushroom compost ─ $30,000
  • Temple University ─ Beyond bitcoin: promises and pitfalls blockchain technology brings to Pennsylvania's agricultural supply chain ─ $25,000
  • Delaware Valley University ─ Efficacy of various light traps to monitor presence of Spotted Lanternfly ─  $6,000
  • Cheyney University ─ Impact on hybrid tilapia of dietary mineral level and source and system pH on the digestibility, tissue deposition and hematological indicators of mineral status ─  $4,000
  • The U School ─ Vermicomposting of urban mushroom farm bi-products at the U School ─ $3,500
  • Grow Pittsburgh ─ Testing Risks from roadway contamination in urban settings and the effectiveness of vegetated barriers ─ $3,000
  • Grow Pittsburgh and Chatham University ─ Evaluating bio-intensive production of lettuces and arugula in an urban agriculture setting ─ $2,900
  • Allegheny County Conservation District ─ Larimer urban soil remediation pilot ─ $2,500
  • Penn State University ─ Continuing research on Phorid Fly, establishing monitoring system for Spotted Lanternfly, and raising awareness of integrated pest management & organic solutions for Pennsylvania's mushroom farms ─ $22,000
  • Rodale Institute ─ Evaluating organic nutrient management practices to improve industrial hemp yield and quality ─ $20,000
  • University of Pennsylvania ─ Analysis of the economic impact of Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program ─ $13,500
  • Cropolis, LLC ─ Tracking the value of local food ─ $3,500

For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s programs and services, or to read the state’s Agriculture Economic Impact Study, visit the Department’s website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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