Ag Committees to Hold Hearing Tomorrow on Cuts to Agriculture Funding

With an increasing groundswell of public outcry regarding the Governor’s slashing of $72 million in state funding for agricultural programs, the Legislature will hold a public hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, March 15) on the impact of those cuts on Pennsylvania’s farmers and the various programs that support their livelihood, according to Senator Elder Vogel, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and Representative Martin Causer, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will hold a joint public hearing on “Agriculture Partial Budget Funding” beginning at 9 a.m., in Room 8E-A of the State Capitol East Wing, Harrisburg.

“With the Governor’s line-item veto of agricultural funding, Pennsylvania is close to becoming the only state in the nation that does not run an Agricultural Extension program,” Senator Vogel said.  “We might soon be the only state without 4-H, and we may soon be the only state without a state-supported College of Agricultural Sciences. These are essential programs that provide vital services to Pennsylvania’s farming families.”

“Agriculture is our state’s top industry, and it is important that we continue to support it through the outstanding research and extension programs at Penn State, as well as through initiatives including hardwoods development, animal health and safety, agriculture fairs and shows, and more,” said Representative Causer. “I look forward to a good discussion that will help us move forward in our efforts to get this vital funding in place.”

Scheduled testifiers for the hearing include: Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding; Nicholas Jones and Dr. Richard Roush from Penn State University to discuss the school’s agricultural extension and promotion programs; Dr. Vincent Prince and Dr. Joan Hendricks from the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine; Karoline Kent, former president of the Pennsylvania 4-H; Nate Kurek, board member of the Westmoreland County Extension; Joel Rotz and Chris Hoffman of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; and Chris Herr of the PennAg Industries Association.

The hearing will be streamed live at:  http://pasenategop.com.

Contact:          Mike Rader                 (717) 787-3076          mrader@pasen.gov