Rabb crop grant program bill approved by House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced that his bipartisan legislation (H.B. 1519) was unanimously reported out of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee yesterday. The bill would establish a state-level grant program to encourage farming of high-priority crops.

“There are crops like hops, hardwood and hemp that aren’t eligible for federal grant programs, but they provide significant value to the commonwealth and to the farmers who grow them,” Rabb said. “My goal is for this legislation to be enacted into law so that Pennsylvania can become a leader in research, cultivation and commercialization of these valuable crops — particularly hemp, a form of cannabis, which was recently made legal by Congress through the 2018 federal farm bill.”

The bill would act as a complement to the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which awards grants for projects aimed at expanding markets for small producers and sets aside 10 percent of grant funds for successful applicants from rural and urban communities that have at least 20 percent poverty for at least 30 years.

“This is an auspicious moment for me as the newly appointed Democratic vice chair of this committee that my first agriculture bill has been successfully voted out of committee.” 

This legislation is part of Pennsylvania’s first-ever farm bill package, introduced by committee chairmen Rep. Martin Causer, R-McKean, Cameron and Potter, and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne.