Pennsylvania governor announces agriculture loans

Pennsylvania's budget fight could hurt farmers.
Pennsylvania's budget fight could hurt farmers.
Pennsylvania governor Edward G. Rendell announced nearly $5 million in loans and guarantees for 17 agriculture and tourism projects in 13 counties, at a time when the state is wrestling with budget cuts that could slash agricultural support.

Rendell said investing in agriculture and tourism, which support approximately 1.4 million jobs in the state, is essential to position each sector to grow as the economy rebounds. Rendell said his budget proposed in February institutes "difficult cuts," but still provides investments to help each industry.

"The commonwealth remains committed to supporting our two largest industries: agriculture and tourism," Rendell said. "We must continue to invest in these industries in a prudent manner so that when the economy turns around, we're in a position where we can emerge stronger than ever."

The governor criticized the state senate for further cutting his budget proposal by another $14.5 million in spending for the two industries. The senate's plan would cut funding to the department of agriculture by nearly $9 million and support for tourism marketing programs by $5.5 million, Rendell said.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority, or CFA, approved loans and guarantees at its May 13 meeting to help farmers with land, livestock and new farm equipment purchases and to finance construction on a project to attract tourists.