DeLissio celebrates signing of bipartisan Pennsylvania Farm Bill

HARRISBURG, July 2 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., joined fellow legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf Monday as Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Farm Bill into law.

"This package of bills is an historic first for Pennsylvania," DeLissio said. "It was a vision first articulated by Wolf at Ag Progress Days in August 2018."

DeLissio, who serves on the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, was a primary sponsor of H.B. 1518, a bill that will provide Agriculture and Youth Development grants by revising and reestablishing a program to fund youth organizations that promote development in the areas of agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship across Pennsylvania. House Bill 1518 passed the House but was ultimately amended into S.B. 661, which was approved by Wolf Monday after passing both the House and Senate last week.

“This bill signing is evidence that when political will is so inclined, good policy is the result,” DeLissio said.

House Bill 1518 was part of the overall Farm Bill package, which Wolf called “bold, aggressive and necessary to protect our farming heritage and inspire the next generation of Pennsylvania farmers.”

DeLissio’s plan will provide grants to eligible agriculture and youth organizations, including but not limited to Pennsylvania Future Farmers of America4-HAg in the Classroom, the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and other vocational education programs.

By expanding eligibility for funding to agriculture-support organizations across the commonwealth, DeLissio and colleagues expect to cultivate greater appreciation of agriculture across the commonwealth.

DeLissio said she is acutely aware of how important these grants could be as the only agricultural high school in the commonwealth, Walter B. Saul High School, is located in her district.

The legislation will increase the available grant funding to $7,500 per grant and makes available matching funds of up to $25,000 for capital projects.

Eligible projects include educational or workforce development programs, seminars, field trips and agricultural safety training programs.

“The PA Farm Bill lays the groundwork to strengthen Pennsylvania’s work force and ensure the next generation is prepared to fill the employment opportunities that are anticipated in this sector,” DeLissio said. “Students will be introduced to agriculture and workforce opportunities, which could foster interest in these subjects as a career path and not just a job. I’m proud to sponsor this piece of the PA Farm Bill, a critical investment in the future of our commonwealth.”