New $10 million Agriculture Innovation Fund speeds through PA House committee

05 June 2024- Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed $10 million Agriculture Innovation Program has moved closer to becoming law with broad bipartisan support in House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. House Bill 2310 creates the program, which will support new solutions to complex agricultural and environmental challenges and keep Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry a national leader in the coming decades. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding applauded Representatives Eddie Day Pashinski and Dan Moul, leadership of the House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, along with prime sponsor Rep. Paul Takac, for bipartisan support for the bill.

“Agriculture innovation is simply doing business in new and better ways to make farming more profitable, efficient, and sustainable,” Secretary Redding said. “Developing new ideas and technology, then putting those innovations into practice on the farm are steps one and two toward solving today’s most costly and complex challenges in both our environment and our economy. Step three is investing. Innovation doesn’t become reality without all three steps.

“Governor Shapiro’s proposed $10 million Agriculture Innovation Fund is an investment that will keep Pennsylvania on the cutting edge of exciting developments in conservation and regenerative agriculture. We are pleased the General Assembly is putting their support behind that investment.”

The Agriculture Innovation Fund would enable the PA Department of Agriculture to offer grants to farmers and other agriculture businesses to implement new agriculture technologies, conservation, and renewable energy innovations – expanding the potential  to generate profits, enrich soil and water resources, and produce energy on the farm. Examples would include technology that improves efficiency on the farm or in processing, generates energy while reducing nutrient waste leaving the farm, or supports crops that effectively store carbon or replace non-renewable resources.  

The program will help put into practice technologies developed through increased research support and will multiply other conservation investments made by the Shapiro Administration. These include dedicating an additional $1.5 million from Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Fund’s Nutrient Management Program for conservation research. The Clean Streams Fund, which also includes the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program was created with $220 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.