HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today that the PA Agricultural Business Development Center has boosted funding by $200,000 to meet demand for Farm Vitality Planning Grants. The PA Farm Bill grants fund strategic business planning to expand, diversify, or transition ownership of farms to the next generation. This new funding is the latest example of Governor Shapiro’s commitment to the long-term growth and sustainability of the agricultural industry and rural communities in Pennsylvania.
“Governor Shapiro knows Pennsylvania agriculture is a key part of our Commonwealth’s economy and a pillar of so many of our communities. For every one of Pennsylvania’s 52,700 farm families, business planning is more than just growing their bottom line,” Secretary Redding said. “It is protecting their family legacy. Farm Vitality Grants help bring to the table the experience, in-depth knowledge, market analysis, and risk management expertise that is vital to realizing their vision, and sustaining not only their farm’s future, but Pennsylvania’s future.”
The program, initiated as part of the historic PA Farm Bill in 2019, has accepted 308 applications to date, funding more than $2,003,439 in project planning, financial and technical expertise to feed farm growth and sustainability.
Farmers and prospective farmers are eligible for up to $7,500, to cover up to 75% of project planning costs. Applications for the program exceeded the funding originally available, and the PA Agriculture Business Development Center has set aside additional dollars to meet demand for the program.
Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted. Apply online through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s single electronic application. Full program guidelines are published in the February 18 edition of the PA BulletinOpens In A New Window.
Farm Vitality Planning Grants can be combined with other PA Farm Bill funding, including these programs, to help plan and finance farm transitions:
- Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, which provides tax credits as an incentive to those who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers. Twenty-one farm owners have received Beginning Farmer Tax Credits, saving them collectively $343,009 on their taxes and helping them pass the torch to the next generation to take up farming.
- Beginning Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemptions through which the department has certified 44 beginning farmers purchasing preserved farms and generating $492,311 in tax savings on the sale of those farms.
- Next Generation Farmer Loan Program, which uses federal tax-exempt financing to reduce a farmer’s interest rate for capital purchases, such as the purchase of farmland 2022 to help young families fund farm expansions and purchases.
For planning resources, financing and other information to support your farm business’ future, visit the Agricultural Business Development Center at agriculture.pa.gov.
For more about other PA Farm bill initiatives and investments to support Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture