The March 3 Council program will feature both Republican and Democratic Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committees to discuss what agricultural issues are likely to come up before the General Assembly.
In addition, PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will present some of the Wolf Administration’s thinking on how PA Agriculture jobs and workforce development are central to Pennsylvania’s total economic well-being.
March 3 is also the day when Governor Wolf presents his State Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015 to the General Assembly so expect plenty of buzz about the Department of Agriculture budget. The PSCFO Board truly hopes you will attend this informative and useful session.
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In the December 6 PA Bulletin, the PA Department of Agriculture published details regarding funding for PA agricultural organizations which conduct agricultural fairs and organizations that contribute to the development of agriculture and agribusinesses as well as eligible agriculture youth groups. Among those included are horse racing organizations, 4-H, and FFA county organizations. A link to the Notice follows:
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/Army Corps of Engineers proposed definition of “Waters of the US” or WOTUS has a new deadline for public comment, November 14. The PA Department of Agriculture suggested that the proposed rule be withdrawn.
PSCFO did not comment due to the diversity of views within the organization.
There will be an informational panel on the subject at the October 27 Council meeting to contrast some of the positions. Those seeking to comment should utilize
HARRISBURG – On August 14 at 10:00 a.m. in the Red Barn, PDA Secretary Greig has invited members of the Pa. State Council of Farm Organizations to participate in a Town Hall meeting. This will be an open dialogue between the Department and attendees.
Among other things, discussions will include FDA regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), implementation of the Farm Bill, the PDA Budget for the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, and a host of other regulatory topics.
Other topics of interest to PSCFO members such as the EPA’s proposed water definition and the feral hog issue may also be addressed.
RSVPs are needed because of limited seating. Ben Junkin 717/787-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org
Some other tours include woodlot management, stream (riparian) buffers and native prairie grasses, short rotation woody crops for biomass, Penn State’s Deer Research Center; pasture management, American Chestnut Foundation plantings, etc.
In addition, a tour of the High Tunnel Research & Education Facility demonstrates current production systems and horticultural crops that can be produced in high tunnels. Complete list of tours is found at http://agsci.psu.edu/apd/events/tours
HARRISBURG – On August 4, the Pa. Department of Agriculture expanded the walnut quarantine for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties because of the presence of Thousand Cankers Disease (Geosmithia morbida and Pityophthorus juglandis).
This order forbids transport of “nuts, nursery stock, budwood, scionwood, green lumber, firewood, and other material living, dead, cut, fallen including stumps, roots, branches, mulch and composted and uncomposted chips…” from walnut trees.
The order provides a procedure to request exemptions. Movement of the above into PA is also prohibited from other states where the disease is present: AZ, CA, CO, ID, IN, MD, NV, NM, NC, OH, OR, TN, UT, VA, and WA unless the plant regulatory agency of the state of origin issues a document certifying that the regulated article is determined to be free of Thousand Cankers Disease.
More information: Dana Rhodes 717/772-5205, email@example.com.
The Pa. Department of Agriculture survived the state budget gauntlet in Harrisburg for Fiscal Year 2014-15 which began July 1. PSCFO wrote legislative leaders June 29 to say “Many of PSCFO’s sixty-plus agricultural organizations are directly affected by the staff capacity at PDA. In this case, a modest increase will stabilize the PDA budget and allow it to meet its directives from the General Assembly.” Following are a number of PDA budget line items compared with the last fiscal year.
Line Item 2014-15 Enacted Budget 2013-14 Available Change
General Gov’t Operations 25.269 million 22.703 million +11.3%
Ag Excellence 1.1 million 600,000 +83.3%
Farmers’ Market Coupons 2.079 million 2.079 million same
Ag Research 787,000 787,000 same
Promotion, Ed. & Exports 250,000 196,000 +27.6%
Hardwoods Promotion 350,000 350,000 same
Livestock Show 177,000 177,000 same
Open Dairy Show 177,000 177,000 same
Youth Shows 140,000 140,000 same
State Food Purchase 17.438 million 17.438 million same
Marketing & Research 494,000 494,000 same
Nutrient Management 2.714 million 2.714 million same
Conservation Districts 869,000 869,000 same
Land Scrip Fund 46.237 million 46.237 million same
(NOTE: This is not what Penn State Ag Research and Extension was budgeted for last year. Comparison is for the available funds, not the budget-approved amount.)
PA Preferred 550,000 550,000 same
UPenn Veterinary 28 million 28 million same
UPenn Infectious Disease 261,000 261,000 same
On July 19, the PA Bulletin published a list of proposed regulations for each agency. PA Department of Agriculture had ten: Domestic Animal (December 2014); Weights & Measures (September 2013); Commercial Feed (summer 2014); Pet Food Rules (summer 2014), Fertilizer Regulations (December 2015), Soil & Plant Regulations (December 2015), Clean & Green (August 2014), Conservation Easement Purchase Program (August 2014), PA Preferred (summer 2014), Pesticide Regulations (September 2014). Details: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-29/1552.html