Rendell makes recommendations to Congress concerning Farm Bill

February 19, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced Pennsylvania's latest recommendations to Congress for the Farm Bill, a key piece of federal legislation that will guide agriculture and nutrition programs for the next five years.

In a letter to Pennsylvania's Congressional delegation, Gov.Rendell said the state's top Farm Bill priority is support for its initiative to expand the renewable energy industry.

Cellulosic ethanol and agricultural renewable energy production can produce 60,000 new jobs in the state, while reducing the U.S.'s dependence on foreign energy sources and negative environmental impacts.

"Agriculture is the leading economic enterprise in Pennsylvania, contributing $45 billion annually to the state's economy," Rendell said. "The Farm Bill offers the chance to address Pennsylvania's specific needs, and will not only benefit our farmers but all citizens of the commonwealth."


Rendell also made several risk management recommendations to improve crop insurance programs that protect farmers when disaster strikes. Crop insurance availability to beginning farmers and those making the transition to organic agriculture or specialty crops would improve with the recommendations.

Other recommendations include:

· Strengthening the safety net for dairy producers by extending the Milk Income Loss Contract program, providing greater market transparency, reforming the federal milk marketing orders and encouraging greater investment in the dairy industry.

· Increasing funding for environmental stewardship programs for farms, focusing on regional conservation challenges in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and advancing further funding and administrative support for the environmental quality incentives program and farmers across the state. Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program would also benefit with changes that will allow greater program flexibility.

· Providing funding support for forestry issues and pest management programs, such as combating invasive species, providing tax credits to help slow the loss of critical forested watershed, and introducing the community forest and open space conservation program, which provides cost-sharing support for acquiring community forests and open space.

· Addressing hunger and poverty issues, particularly among senior citizens. The provisions will increase funding for food programs such as the senior farmers market nutrition program.

For more information on Rendell's newest Farm Bill recommendations, visit and click on 'Governor Rendell's Farm Bill Recommendation Letter' under 'What's New.'

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