Not much new in proposed Pa. budget for agriculture

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Pennsylvania Capitol
Pennsylvania Capitol (Flickr/Kumar Appaiah photo)

It’s more of the same for agriculture in Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2021-22 budget.

The $37.8 billion general fund budget includes a slight increase in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s operations. The department would receive $1.3 million for its general government operations, which covers job and services to support state agriculture.

The budget proposal calls for an additional $1 million to go to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System. The program covers costs for farms to harvest, process, package and transport surplus products like fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy and meat to the charitable food system.

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System received a big boost last year from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act funding. The program is funded at $1.5 million each year by state funds, but it received $10 million from the state’s CARES funding in 2020.

Overall, the state’s agriculture budget comes in at $166 million.

The budget also zeroed out funding for agriculture research, ag promotion, hardwoods research and promotion, livestock show, open dairy show, food marketing and research, livestock and consumer health protection and animal health and diagnostic commission.

This isn’t to say that these programs will be cut from the final budget. The General Assembly typically restores these line items.

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