Final grant program introduced from Pa. Farm Bill

A $1 million grant program created to enhance the long-term health and vitality of Pennsylvania’s family farms was introduced Wednesday in front of hundreds of public officials at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The Farm Vitality Grant Program is the last of the grant programs financed under Gov. Tom Wolf’s $23.1 million Pa. Farm Bill, the state’s first.

“Just as farmers are at the heart of Pennsylvania and its heritage, the heart of the Pa. Farm Bill is the Ag Business Development Center and its $1 million Farm Vitality Grant Program,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We need Pennsylvania farm families to have sound business plans, because their success is Pennsylvania’s success.”

The Farm Vitality Grant Program is designed to help fund professional services for individuals and families planning for the future of their farm. Officials say the program will enhance the long-term health and vitality of farms through business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production and financial and technical expertise.

The state Farm Bill also includes programs to tackle other issues in the agricultural community, including the Agriculture Linked Investment Program to provide low-interest loans for conservation practices, the Farm-to-School Grant Program to increase nutrition and agriculture education opportunities in schools, and the Specialty Crop Block Program investing in Pennsylvania crops like hardwoods, hemp and hops.