State Council Endorses Two Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 9, 2020

Vince Phillips 717-232-9665  xenobun@aol.com

HARRISBURG…The State Council of Farm Organizations (PSCFO) endorsed two pieces of legislation benefiting rural Pennsylvania at its Annual Meeting held February 5 in Harrisburg.

They are:

House Bill 1123 sponsored by Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester).  This would establish Dairy Keystone Opportunity Zones to incentivize investment in regional dairy processing facilities.  This means that PA dairy farmers would have the chance to develop their own processing to create another source of income.  In addition, transportation of fluid milk would be cheaper.  A third benefit is that PA-produced milk that is processed in PA means a larger over-order premium paid to dairy farmers.   The legislation passed the House and now awaits action by the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.

House Bill 2055 sponsored by Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Greene/Fayette/Washington).  This bill adds Broadband expansion to the list of approved critical infrastructure under the Municipal Authorities Act.  That means rural communities would have the authority to be their own Internet Service Provider (ISP) if telecommunications companies delay upgrading service to these underserved local areas.  The legislation is currently in the House Local Government Committee.

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The PA State Council of Farm Organization is made up of numerous Pennsylvania agricultural organizations who have banded together to be a stronger advocate for Pennsylvania Agriculture.

AG ONE Newsletter February 9, 2020

On February 4, Governor Tom Wolf presented his proposal for the State Budget beginning July 1, 2020.  This special issue of AG ONE Newsletter will describe Governor Wolf’s budgetary vision for many agricultural budget items.  PA Department of Agriculture hearings are scheduled for February 26 at 10:00 a.m. (House Appropriations Committee) and March 2 at 10:00 a.m. (Senate Appropriations Committee). The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing on the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine on March 2 at 1:00 p.m. and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Extension at 3:00 p.m. the same day.  Check PCN for viewing schedule.

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Budget Item   (state funds)                                        Current FY                Proposed

Agriculture Dept. General Gov’t Ops.                   33.731 million             33.502 million

    (NOTE: Staff complement increases by one in the next fiscal year –for conservation.)

Biosecurity

Ag Preparedness Response Fund                            4.0 million                   same

    (NOTE:  Includes Spotted Lanternfly)

Conservation/Infrastructure/Preservation

Dirt, Gravel & Low Volume Roads                        35.0 million                 same

Conservation District Fund                                     8.422 million               7.585 million

Ag Conservation Easement Purchase                     40.0 million                 same

Chesapeake Bay Ag. Source Abatement Fund (DEP)   0                          3.974 million

Community Conservation Grants (DCNR)           6.120 million               6.0 million

Education/Research

Penn State Extension & Ag Research                     54.960 million             same

U of Pitt Rural Education Outreach                       3.346 million               same

PA Fairs

Grants (Race Horse Development Trust Fund)         4.0 million                   same

Workforce Investment                                              4.5 million                   4.5 million

PA Farm Show General Operations                       12.827 million             12.548 million

Farm Products Show Fund                                      5.0 million                   same

    (Transfer from Horse Race Development Fund)

     NOTE:  Other income for Farm Show in FY 19-20 came from parking (2.385 million), rental                  (3.631 million), concessions (1.248 million) and 420,000 from exhibits). 

Nutrition

Farmers Market Food Coupons                              2.079 million               same

PA Ag Surplus System                                              1.5 million                   2.5 million

Veterinary & Animal Health

Animal Health & Diagnostic Comm.                      7.3700 million             5.370 million

UPenn School of Veterinary Medicine                    31.660 million             same

UPenn Center Infectious Diseases                           295,000                       same

Equine Toxicology & Research Lab                       13.0 million                 5.896 million

PA Vet Lab                                                                5.309 million               same

    (Above two items funded by Race Horse Development Trust Fund)

OTHER LINE ITEMS

Centers for Ag Excellence                                        2.8 million                   same

Center for Rural PA (General Assembly)             1.128 million               same

PA Milk Marketing Board                                       2.956 million               2.840 million

PA Preferred                                                             3.205 million               same

Youth Shows                                                             169,000                       same

Nutrient Management Fund                                    7.217 million               6.329 million

Volunteer Company Loan Fund                             25.0 million                 20.0 million

 

Resource: PDA begins on Page 341; Special Funds begin on Page 780.

https://www.budget.pa.gov/PublicationsAndReports/CommonwealthBudget/Documents/2020-21%20Proposed%20Budget/2020-21%20Executive%20Budget%20Book%20-%20Web%20Version.pdf

ELIMINATED IN FY 2020-21 State Budget Proposal

Agriculture Promotion, Education, Exports          553,000                       0

Agriculture Research (not Penn State)                     2.187 million               0

Food Marketing & Research                                   494,000                       0

Hardwood Promotion                                               474,000                       0

Livestock Show                                                         215,000                       0

Livestock & Consumer Protection                          1.0 million                   0

Open Dairy Show                                                     215,000                       0

Rural Leadership Training  (DCED)                      100,000                       0

Horse Racing Purse Account                                   162.714 million           0

Racing Programs                                                      32.543 million             0

Horse Drug Testing                                                  10.662 million             0

NOTE: Horse Racing Development Fund monies diverted to create a new state scholarship fund.

TAX CREDIT PROGRAMS

Resource Enhancement& Protection (REAP)       13.0 million                 same

Mobile Telecom Broadband Investment                5.0 million                   same

Tax Credits for Beginning Farmers                        0                                  5.0 million

Farm Bureau’s Rotz Receives Dedication Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 5, 2020

Vince Phillips 717-232-9665  xenobun@aol.com

HARRISBURG…The State Council of Farm Organizations (PSCFO) announced that Roel B. Rotz, Manager, PA Farm Bureau’s Government Affairs & Communications Division, is the recipient of the PSCFO 2020 Dedication to Agriculture Award.

This annual honor is bestowed on an individual who has devoted him or herself to promoting the interests of farmers and the understanding by consumers of the importance of agricultural production.

Joel Rotz directs the Government Affairs & Communications Division which is responsible for PA Farm Bureau’s lobbying and communications programs. It works to implement PFB policy objectives in state and national legislative and regulatory activities. It also provides members with information to aid in their involvement in policy development and implementation efforts and informs the public on issues crucial to agriculture and rural life. In addition, the division assists with the marketing of member programs and builds productive working relationships with the news media and other groups.

During his tenure at the PA Farm Bureau, he has chalked up many legislative achievements for farmers, some of which are:

  • — Passage of legislation protecting the farmer’s right to farm from punitive local ordinances
  • — Multiple improvements to Clean & Green resulting in lower tax assessments for land used for hunting, agri-entertainment, and energy production
  • — Passage of a new law effectively eliminating the state Inheritance Tax for working family farms
  • — Key changes in the Vehicle Code, one of which allows larger, modern farm equipment to travel on roads

In part because of his twenty years owning and operating a dairy farm in Franklin County, Rotz is also the PFB’s Dairy Specialist.  He has been with the PA Farm Bureau since 1995.

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The PA State Council of Farm Organization is made up of numerous Pennsylvania agricultural organizations who have banded together to be a stronger advocate for Pennsylvania Agriculture.