CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The first state-level farm bill in the nation was signed in Pennsylvania three years ago. On Thursday, August 4 Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding visited the 150-year-old Hess Farm in State College to share what the PA Farm Bill has done for the agriculture industry.
Agriculture is the commonwealth’s largest economic driver, contributing 132.5 billion dollars each year.
“It’s an industry that serves people,” Jessica Herr, national officer candidate for Pennsylvania FFA said. “We put food on people’s plates, fuel in their cars, and clothes on their back, and that’s something to be proud of.”
Herr said she sees the PA Farm Bill as an opportunity.
“We’re focusing on both the current generation and generations past in agriculture, but also looking towards a bright future,” Herr said.
“It is a vision, it is looking forward,” Secretary Redding said.
The bill has led to a 76 million dollar investment in state agriculture. Farmers have seen it manifest as upgraded tools and marketing, meat processing support, updated infrastructure and improved storage.
“When our farmers succeed, we all succeed,” said Governor Wolf. “We wanted to support future success of farmers, we wanted to remove barriers to entry to new farmers to make that succession process easier, basically wanted to increase food security for everybody.”
Wolf said much progress has been made; however, there is always more work to be done.
“I think we need to do more in terms of supporting agricultural research throughout Pennsylvania, food science, there are a lot of things I think we can do,” Wolf said. “It starts with making sure we have people who are willing to produce the food, and so that’s where we have started.”