Discusses several issues during Dept. of Agriculture budget hearing
Senator Elder Vogel, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, questioned the impact of various state funding changes on Pennsylvania’s farmers during an Appropriations Committee budget hearing with state Agriculture Secretary George Greig.
Senator Vogel questioned whether a proposed increase in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget would offset the impact of funding reductions over the previous six years on the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission.
“We all know the importance of the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and the three part laboratory system in being the first line of defense in safeguarding our food supply. Despite this importance, the Commission and laboratory budgets have been slashed by 35 percent since 2007,” Senator Vogel said. “Does the Governor’s proposal of a 23 percent increase in AHDC funding cover the losses from the past 6 years and provide adequate protection and health of our agricultural animals?”
Senator Vogel also questioned whether revenues from the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee are adequately supporting Pennsylvania’s Conservation Districts. Noting that impact fee funding of $5 million is allocated for conservation districts for FY 2013-14, he asked whether there is a need to provide temporary bridge funds in order to provide the districts with a full $7.5 million.
Other areas discussed by Senator Vogel included the impact of a decrease in funding for Penn State Ag Sciences on its research and extension programs; and the effect of mandates and regulations set by Chesapeake Bay Programs and the Environmental Protection Agency on farmers.
CONTACT: Mike Rader