High tunnel regulations removed in Pennsylvania

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Pennsylvania farmers, who use high tunnels to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, will no longer face the burden of having to meet state regulations intended for commercial and residential development now that Governor Wolf has signed House Bill 1486.

Law

The new law, which was a priority issue for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) in 2018, prevents municipalities from requiring farmers to submit stormwater management plans on high tunnel structures that meet the law’s commonsense and easily understood guidelines.

PFB President Rick Ebert said High Tunnels should not be required to meet the same regulatory standards as permanent commercial office buildings or housing developments.

Interest

Farm Bureau notes that there has been an increased interest among farmers to use high tunnels to extend the growing season for the food they produce, but many farmers held off assembling the temporary structures due to uncertainty over how they would be regulated and the cost, time and paperwork involved in meeting stormwater management standards.

PFB recognized Representative Dave Zimmerman of Lancaster County, who sponsored the legislation in the House, and Senators Scott Martin, Ryan Aument and Gene Yaw for building support for the bill in the Senate.

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