Penn Farm Bureau on budget: More funding needed for research, cooperative extension

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said Gov. Tom Wolf's budget falls short in funding agriculture and other programs at Penn State University.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau said Gov. Tom Wolf's budget falls short in funding agriculture and other programs at Penn State University. | Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) said on Tuesday that Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed budget doesn't adequately fund agriculture research or cooperative extension programs at Penn State University.

The bureau did say that the budget provides enough funding to run the state Department of Agriculture.

“Pennsylvania farmers appreciate the proposed $3 million increase in funding for PDA’s General Government Operations, which should help maintain staffing and resources for important programs, but we are strongly concerned that the governor failed to increase funding for Cooperative Extension and Agriculture Research programs administered by Penn State,” PFB President Rick Ebert said.

Ebert said farm families are reliant on agriculture research to help fight crop diseases and improve productivity. Cooperative Extension employees keep farmers up to date on any new conservation practices or regulations of which they need to be aware.

“With such a huge focus on education in the budget address, we had hoped that the primary sources used to educate farmers about new breakthroughs in animal and plant research and technology, along with food safety, conservation and environmental practices, would have been more of a budget priority for the governor,” Ebert said.

PFB said it would continue to evaluate the budget process and would look to get more detail on several other topics, including cuts to property taxes and pension reform.

Ebert said farmers have been advocating for the General Assembly to address the “growing pension crisis” over the last few years, and have been pushing for property tax relief for the last 10 years.

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Penn State University Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

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