CAMP HILL, Pa. – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is pleased that the 2022-23 state budget will institute a program for conservation funding on farms, with $220 million in funding to create the Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) to the clean streams fund, aimed at reducing nutrient and sediment runoff, which comes as a huge victory for farmers as PFB’s biggest legislative ask of the year.
As a whole, conservation districts will receive an increase of $6.8 million, with $5 million coming from the Department of Environmental Protection and the other $1.8 million coming through the Department of Agriculture.
The 2022-23 state budget also notably includes $32 million to help combat avian influenza, with $25 million of the funding coming in the form of indemnity payments to the impacted farmers. An additional $6 million is available to increase laboratory surveillance activities while another $1 million was allocated for additional staffing for the Department of Agriculture.
An increase of funds to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission was also a part of the 2022-23 budget, which is a win for Pennsylvania farmers. When the original budget proposal was rolled out the program was essentially going to be cut, but the final iteration of the budget saw the commission reinstituted with an increase in funding.
Agricultural research and extension were given an increase of five percent, which is just shy of $3 million worth of funding for the 2022-23 year.
The budget also reinstates a $5 million general fund appropriation for the Farm Show, reducing the reliance on Race Horse Development Fund dollars. The budget increases funding for the State Food Purchase Program by $2 million as well, to provide emergency food assistance and purchase surplus agricultural products.
Overall, the Department of Agriculture will see just shy of a 30 percent increase this year in funding.
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau