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Pennsylvania ag secretary blasts state farm budget

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell's farm budget was cut further by the senate.
Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell's farm budget was cut further by the senate.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture secretary Dennis Wolff said a Republican-engineered budget passed today in the state senate would mean $9 million in additional cuts for the department beyond the governor's proposal.

The senate-approved plan would cut state funding for many programs that benefit farmers, including crop insurance, agricultural research and economic development programs, Wolff said.

"At a time when farm businesses are struggling, the senate's plan could cripple production agriculture in Pennsylvania," Wolff said.

Wolff said the programs on the chopping block help ensure a safe food supply, open new markets for producers, support the development of new agriculture equipment and technologies through research, and provide needed resources to help businesses grow.

"The governor's budget proposal, in contrast, is fiscally responsible, reflects the difficult economy we now face and preserves valuable programs that serve the most essential needs of farmers and consumers," Wolff said.

Wolff said the Senate's plan also cuts funding support for 116 county fairs and slashes by 20 percent funding for three state-sponsored farm expos - the All-American Dairy Show, Keystone International Livestock Exposition and the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

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