HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today hailed the passage of the federal farm bill, saying it includes his recommendations that fit the unique needs of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry. Congress passed the bill on Feb. 4.
"Farmers and agribusinesses drive Pennsylvania's economy, with $68 billion in total economic impact annually," said Corbett. "I commend Pennsylvania's congressional delegation, especially Congressman Glenn G.T. Thompson, for their leadership on behalf of agriculture and the many citizens who depend on the farm bill.
"I urge the President to sign this bill as soon as possible, because it helps ensure our farmers remain competitive."
Many of the enhancements in the bill were recommendations by Governor Tom Corbett. For the past three years, the governor has been asking Congress for improved provisions based on listening sessions and meetings with agricultural leaders.
"We've been working with Congress to pass a bill that would fit the unique farming needs of the northeast," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "While long overdue, this bill is good for Pennsylvania agriculture."
Including the provisions recommended by Governor Corbett, the farm bill:
- Provides risk management tools for Pennsylvania dairy producers, giving farmers a safety net during times of low margins, promoting domestic competition for milk and providing business management tools, including a new voluntary margin protection program for dairy farmers that does not impose government-mandated supply controls;
- Strengthens crop insurance and disaster assistance programs to help Pennsylvania farmers when they need assistance the most, including the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance (SURE), Livestock Indemnity Payments (LIP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP) and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP);
- Provides assurance to Pennsylvania's nation-leading forest products industry by clarifying that forest roads and related forestry activities do not require an individual permit under the Clean Water Act;
- Helps keep Pennsylvania a national leader in farmland preservation and conservation by funding the Agricultural Conservation Easement, Environmental Quality Incentives and Conservation Reserve Enhancement programs;
- Provides nutrition education and food to the state's underserved citizens by funding the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Emergency Food Assistance Program and the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to schools and service institutions;
- Helps direct-market operations and farmers markets get fresh foods into the hands of consumers by funding block grants such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program; and
- Funds early plant pest detection and surveillance, threat identification and mitigation and technical assistance by consolidating the National Clean Plant Network and the Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program.
"This farm bill anticipates our nutrition, conservation, commodity and risk management needs for the future," said Governor Corbett. "I look forward to supporting these programs at the state level, allowing us to continue our legacy of national leadership in agriculture."
Owen McEvoy, Governor's Office; 717- 783-1116
Samantha Elliott Krepps, Agriculture; 717-787-5085
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor