HARRISBURG – Senator Tom Killion (R-9) supported passage of a package of bills today that would help Pennsylvania agricultural operations remain competitive and profitable for current and future generations of farmers.
“Farming and agriculture-related industries are vital to our state and local economy, and they need the support and resources to remain competitive,” Killion said. “It is our responsibility to ensure that government regulations and policies do not stand in the way of current and future generations of farmers being able to run their businesses successfully.”
Bills in the “Farming First” package that were passed by the Senate today include:
- A tax credit program for landowners to lease or sell farmland to future generations of farmers.
- The creation of the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to bring together all stakeholders in the industry.
- Changes to the state’s farmland preservation program to allow farmers more flexibility for building or subdividing residences.
- Updating Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code to allow the transportation of large farm equipment.
- Exempting milk haulers from weather-related travel bans.
- Easing restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities.
- Setting commonsense safety standards and removing costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events on farms.
The “Farming First” package is designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry.
Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farm families manage more than 7.7 million acres of farmland. The agriculture industry generates more than $7.5 billion in cash receipts annually.
Senate Republicans led the fight last year to create the Pennsylvania Dairy Industry Investment Program, which is designed to improve the production, processing and distribution of dairy products throughout the state.
Over the past four years, Senate Republicans have also worked to restore a cumulative total of more than $15 million in cuts proposed by Governor Wolf to critical programs supporting the agriculture community, including livestock and open dairy shows, food marketing and research, hardwoods research and promotion, agricultural research and Agricultural Excellence.
All of the bills in the “Farming First” package were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.