AG ONE Newsletter June 29, 2018

FARMLAND PROTECTION BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

On June 24, Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 2468 into law as Act 45 of 2018.  This legislation restricts school districts and townships from seizing preserved farmland without justifying (no other available options) the acquisition before the county’s Orphan’s Court.  HB 2468 addresses two separate school district actions in Cumberland and Montgomery Counties.  The bill was sponsored by Representatives Warren Kampf, Marcy Toepel, and Kate Harper, all Montgomery County Republicans.

AGRI-TOURISM BILLS MOVE

Sponsored by Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), bills limiting liability for farmers engaged in agri-tourism or agri-entertainment are continuing their movement in the PA General Assembly.  Senate Bill 819 which defines agri-tourism passed the Senate June 18 by a 48-0 vote and was referred to the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee June 20.  Companion Senate Bill 820 which provides limited liability immunity was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is on the Senate’s calendar.

HOUSE ADOPTS PENNVEST AUDIT RESOLUTION

On June 22, the PA House adopted House Resolution 948 calling upon State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to audit records of the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as PENNVEST, as they relate to nonpoint source program projects.  According to prime sponsor Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), “many questions have been raised about transactions in which PENNVEST financed the purchase of 60,000 acres of private forest land in north central and northwestern PA.”

SENATE APPROVES NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT BILL

The Senate voted 49-0 on June 20 for Senate Bill 1171 (Brooks-R-Mercer/Crawford/Erie/Warren) to create the Farm Animal Advisory Board as a replacement for the Nutrient Management Advisory Board so as to provide greater input by animal farmers in the regulatory process concerning nutrient compliance rules.

SELECTED LEGISLATIVE ITEMS

  • Approved by the Senate 48-0 on June 18 were two members of the PA Milk Marketing Board, Robert Barley and Carol Hardbarger.  Barley was also appointed to USDA’s National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board by Secretary Sonny Perdue on June 19.
  • Signed into law as Act 43 of 2018 by Governor Wolf on June 22 was House Bill 2477 (Watson-R-Bucks) furthering research in medical marijuana.
  • Adopted by the PA House was House Resolution 971 proclaiming “Pollinator Week” in PA (Matzie D-Allegheny/Beaver).  Adopted by the Senate was Senate Resolution 403 (Aument-R-Lancaster) declaring June as “Dairy Month” in PA.

DAIRY RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY SENATE

Another piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Aument was adopted by the PA Senate June 18.  Senate Resolution 382 calls upon the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to prevent labeling products billing themselves as “milk” from using that term unless they are true dairy.  This would include products such as soy, almond, and most recently peas from marketing with the term “milk” when they are not dairy products.

The second resolution adopted June 18 is Senate Resolution 384 sponsored by Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks), Minority Chair, Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.  SR 384 directs the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to identify and examine the statutes, best practices and proposed measures of other States to provide assistance to dairy producers during these economic times. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will also identify the number and types of specialty dairy products, such as lactose free milk, that are sold in the Commonwealth by out of state dairy producers and examine how milk produced in the Commonwealth can be utilized to meet the increased demand for this specialty dairy products market.”  (Source:  Sen. Schwank’s sponsorship memo)

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION REPORT RELEASED

The Wolf Administration released an agriculture workforce development educational program report in June as a result of collaboration between the PA Departments of Agriculture and Education.  Details:  http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Documents/Agriculture%20Education%20Report.pdf

DEADLINES

  • July 6, 2018 is the deadline for the Department of Environmental Protection to receive online applications for private companies “repowering” trucks and other equipment.  The PA Clean Diesel Grant Program received part of the national $118 million Federal settlement with Volkswagon.  Details: Samantha Harmon at DEP, 717-787-9495; www.dep.pa.gov/driveforward
  • July 20, 2018 is the date by which farmers should file actual acreage reports for Crop Insurance.  Another Crop Insurance date to remember is July 31st, the enrollment deadline for forage seeding protection.  Details: Jordan Stasyszyn at PDA, 717-787-6901
  • October 12, 2018 is the deadline for corn producers, grain handling facilities, or ethanol production facilities to enter into the Settlement Agreement with Syngenta over lawsuits alleging that marketing a GMO seed disrupted U.S. corn market prices.  Details and a scam warning: www.cornseedsettlement.com; 833-567-2676.

AG ONE Newsletter June 25, 2018 Budget Edition

PA HAS A STATE BUDGET

Governor Wolf signed House Bill 2121 (Saylor-R-York) into law on June 22.  At $36.158 billion, the State Budget goes into effect July 1, 2018. The major spending increase was $100 million more for K-12 education.  A link to House Bill 2121 follows.  Actual language starts on page 194.  Pages 194-211 describe various Funds and the actual appropriations amounts begin on page 211.

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2017&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=2121&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=http%3a%2f%2fwww.legis.state.pa.us%2fcfdocs%2fbillInfo%2fbillInfo.cfm%3fsYear%3d2017%26sInd%3d0%26body%3dH%26type%3dB%26bn%3d2121&utm_campaign=House+Approves+Budget+with+No+New+or+Increased+Taxes

BUDGET BY LINE ITEM

General Fund Line Item       Original Wolf Proposal        Final HB 2121           Change

Agriculture Dept.                  33.407 million                         31.791 million             -1.6 million

Note: This is still an increase over the current fiscal year’s 30.784 million

Spotted Lanternfly                  0                                              3 million plus Federal dollars

Centers for Ag Excellence      0                                              1.331 million, (same as current FY)

Farmers Market Coupons       2.079 million                           same plus Federal dollars

Ag Research (not PSU)          0                                              2.187 (500 million over current FY)

Ag Promotion                         0                                              303,000 (same as current FY)

Hardwoods                             0                                              424,000 (same as current FY)

Livestock Show                      0                                              215,000 (same as current FY)

Open Dairy Show                   0                                              215,000 (same as current FY)

Youth Shows                          169,000                                   same                            same

State Food Purchases              19.188 million                         19,688 million             +500,000

Note: Food purchases for food banks (PASS) increased from 1.0 million to 1.5 million

Food Marketing                      0                                              494,000 (same as current FY)

Transfer to Nutrient Mgemt.   2.714 million                           same                            same

Transfer to Cons. District       869,000                                   same                            same

Scrip Fund (Penn State & Ext). 52.313 million                      53.882 million             +1.6 million

PA Preferred                           605,000                                   same                            same

UPenn Vet                              30.135 million                         31.039 million             +904,000

UPenn Infectious Disease       281,000                                   289,000                       +8,000

DCNR                                     22.063 million                         same                            same

Parks/Forest Infrastructure     0                                              2.5 million       (0 in current FY)

Education Dept.                    26.143 million                         25.971 million             -172,000

Note: Program funding K-12 increased $100 million; Community Colleges increased by million; Regional Community College (think Northern Tier) increased by 253,000

Penn State (non-ag)                 252.510 million                       260.085 million           +7.575 million

Pitt/Temple/Lincoln                309.232 million                       318.5 million               +9.27 million

State System H. Ed.                468.108 million                       same    Current FY is 453.108 million

 

Pitt Rural Education               2.763 million                           2.846 million               +83,000

DEP                                        14.378 million                         same    Current FY is 13.309 million

Envir. Programs                      30.932 million                         same    Current FY is 29.413 million

Ches. Bay Ag Abatement       2.670 million                           same    Current FY is 2.535 million

Ches. Bay Commission           275,000                                   same                            same

Envir. Protection Ops             93.901 million                         93.190 million             -711,000

Transfer to Cons. Dist.           2.506 million                           same                            same

Legislature

Center for Rural PA                1.072  million                          1.104 million               +32,000

Other Items (non- General Fund) House Bill 2121 (State Budget for FY 2018-19)

Motor Vehicle Fund

  • Dirt & Gravel (DCNR) 0 million
  • Dust & Sediment Forest Roads (DCNR) 0 million
  • Appalachian Regional Commission 750,000
  • County Roads & Bridges (PennDOT) 0 million
  • Rural Commercial Routes (PennDOT) 0 million

Note:  Some of this is dedicated to upgrade highway technology and potentially Broadband access.

Racing Development Fund

  • County Fairs 0 million
  • County Fairs Administration 207,000
  • Farm Show 0 million
  • Animal Health Commission 35 million
  • PA Vet Labs 309 million
  • Horse Racing Promotion 393 million
  • Equine Toxicology & Research 025 million
  • State Racing Commission 466 million

Milk Marketing Board Fund                                               2.84 million