Casey Urges Congress to Quickly Pass Farm Bill to Help PA Farmers Create Jobs

At $46.4 Billion, Agriculture is PA’s Largest Industry: Supports Over 94,000 Farmers and Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) yesterday urged Congress to quickly pass the new Farm Bill that is being debated in the Senate this week. Passing the Farm Bill is critical to helping Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry create and sustain jobs, according to Casey.

“Passing this farm bill will provide a significant boost to one of the major drivers of economic growth in our state, the agriculture industry,” Senator Casey said. “This week Congress has an opportunity to pass a key jobs bill in a bipartisan fashion. Members of both parties should act on the Farm Bill without delay.”

Senator Casey detailed provisions in the new Farm Bill that would create economic opportunities in rural areas, sustain businesses that rely on agriculture, help Pennsylvania farmers address risk management and conservation, and help American agribusinesses such as honey producers maintain a competitive edge against unfair foreign competition.

Senator Casey fought for provisions to boost organic farmers and direct the USDA to assess the feasibility of allowing organic producers to participate in an organic foods promotion program. At last measure, Pennsylvania was the nation’s third largest producer of organic goods.

Senator Casey pushed for strong provisions to support specialty crops, which include crops like pumpkins, apples, and mushrooms and are a key source of business for Pennsylvania farmers. At Senator Casey’s urging, the Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI), Specialty Crops Block Grant program and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program remain strong in the new Farm Bill.

Dairy is Pennsylvania’s largest agricultural sector, and Senator Casey pushed to include improvements to the Farm Bill in order to have the best dairy program possible for Pennsylvania farmers. The bill includes a new program to protect dairy farmers from low margins, such as those caused by low milk prices and high feed costs.

In addition to these measures, Senator Casey offered the following amendments to the Farm Bill:

  • Dairy Product Reporting – provides a measure of predictability to sectors of the U.S. agricultural industry – dairymen, buyers, suppliers, policymakers, and others – that rely on dairy product prices data to make sound business decisions.
  • Local Market Loans – based on Senator Casey’s GO FARM Act, this amendment authorizes small direct operating loans up to $50,000 to farmers. The amendment would also provide farm businesses with technical assistance, business management and credit counseling services and would help them successfully identify and meet local market opportunities.
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program – strengthens nutrient treatment programs for farms and farmers, thereby reducing costs for sewage treatment and consumers. It would provide assistance to farmers that will ultimately help reduce costs for sewage treatment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Microloans – supports jobs and agricultural production by allowing qualified young beginning farmers or military veteran farmers to receive microloans of under $35,000. The amendment would also allow lending partners to provide farm businesses with business, financial, marketing and credit management services.

Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s largest industry and has an economic impact on virtually every county.

A county-by-county look at crops harvested in Pennsylvania is available by clicking here.

A county-by-county breakdown of the annual value of agricultural products in Pennsylvania is below:

County

Value of Products Sold (Millions of Dollars)

Pennsylvania total

5,808.803

Adams

216.994

Allegheny

9.514

Armstrong

51.976

Beaver

15.187

Bedford

90.858

Berks

367.84

Blair

85.199

Bradford

121.311

Bucks

70.573

Butler

38.664

Cambria

23.168

Cameron

0.828

Carbon

8.944

Centre

69.661

Chester

553.29

Clarion

21.958

Clearfield

11.102

Clinton

43.661

Columbia

45.874

Crawford

101.036

Cumberland

132.803

Dauphin

82.887

Delaware

9.455

Elk

3.717

Erie

71.284

Fayette

25.974

Forest

3.106

Franklin

304.45

Fulton

38.038

Greene

9.316

Huntingdon

62.320

Indiana

76.428

Jefferson

25.317

Juniata

95.658

Lackawanna

16.216

Lancaster

1.072.151

Lawrence

35.639

Lebanon

257.097

Lehigh

72.059

Luzerne

18.151

Lycoming

53.381

McKean

5.185

Mercer

60.655

Mifflin

86.818

Monroe

7.819

Montgomery

30.028

Montour

36.193

Northampton

31.762

Northumberland

110.978

Perry

105.052

Philadelphia

0.487

Pike

2.524

Potter

31.377

Schuylkill

124.752

Snyder

109.041

Somerset

83.152

Sullivan

7.240

Susquehanna

49.287

Tioga

53.828

Union

90.497

Venango

11.796

Warren

18.603

Washington

28.649

Wayne

29.428

Westmoreland

58.437

Wyoming

13.496

York

212.634

*Data from the USDA Census of Agriculture


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