The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a statement by Pennsylvania Executive Director Shannon Gority following release of a new report on the economic impact of agriculture in Pennsylvania.
The report indicates that agriculture supports more than 590,000 jobs, paying $33 billion in wages annually, with an annual economic impact of $132.5 billion.
Governor Tom Wolf said in a press release, “This report shows us plainly what we all realized over the past year: agriculture is vital to our lives and our economy. Pennsylvanians and policy-makers alike should do everything in their power to support it.”
Ms. Gority said:
“Supporting agriculture includes making sure our land, air, and water are as clean, productive, and healthy as possible. But the Commonwealth continues to fall short when it comes to passing the legislative bills and resources needed to meet acceptable standards.
“There are solutions to addressing a more than $320 million annual deficit in what it will take to meet Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint.
“A more robust Pennsylvania Farm Bill would be a good start. The $13.6 million appropriation sought by the administration for the next fiscal year is the same as last fiscal year, and almost $10 million less than it was in 2019. Funding that does little more than maintain status quo produces limited progress.
“There is also Senate Bill 465, introduced by Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), that would establish the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program, where funds would be distributed through conservation districts to projects that are most important to local farms. It is an opportunity for new investments that farmers very much want and need.
“It is also critical that legislators take the opportunity to provide Growing Greener funding so that vital projects in agriculture and elsewhere can continue.
“The clock is ticking and the clean water costs are mounting as the Commonwealth’s 2025 Blueprint deadline looms.
“While this latest report paints a powerful picture, imagine agriculture’s potential economic impact, if we, and legislators, did everything in our power to support it.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The report can be found here.