Pa. governor seeks $40 million for state’s farmland preservation efforts


HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg will receive a generous budget boost if lawmakers approve Pa. Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s 2004-05 budget.

Funding for the complex is proposed to increase from $1 million to $3 million, a 200 percent increase, said Pa. Agriculture Secretary Dennis C Wolff.

Wolff said the increased funding provides, for the first time, money to develop a marketing plan, address the operational needs and create a reserve fund.

Farmland preservation. More than $40 million for Pennsylvania’s nation-leading Farmland Preservation Program is also included in the budget.

Wolff added more than 43,000 acres of farmland representing 375 farms will be preserved over the next four years under the governor’s Quality of Life initiative.

Other items. The budget includes $4.25 million earmarked for the Pa. Department of Agriculture to continue the diagnostic and surveillance of animal agriculture.

Wolff said the budget also allows the department to continue to build domestic and international marketing, and promote Pennsylvania products with nearly $2 million.

New initiatives like Marketplace for the Mind and the new Center for Dairy Excellence are also included in the budget, and $1 million has been budgeted for crop insurance.

Other key components of the budget include:

* $3.4 million for Pennsylvania’s 119 fairs;

* $3.2 million for nutrient management;

* $3 million for agricultural research;

* $1 million for crop insurance;

* $555,000 for the Keystone International Livestock Exposition, All-American Dairy Show and the state 4-H Horse Show;

* $110,000 for agriculture and rural youth; and $104,000 for the Pennsylvania FFA Association.


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