HARRISBURG – Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) has been reappointed chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny).
“Agriculture is our state’s top industry, employing hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women who are committed to ensuring our Commonwealth’s agricultural industries and heritage continue on for generations,” Causer said. “I am honored to stand with our farmers as we work together to ensure a bright future for this vital industry that puts food on our tables and contributes so much to our local and state economies.”
Among the top priorities for Causer and the committee is boosting agriculture education opportunities in public schools and post-secondary institutions. The goal is to help students recognize the quality jobs available in the industry and ensure growth in the agriculture work force. Last session, as part of the state budget process, the General Assembly voted to create a Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence to develop a statewide plan for agricultural education and coordinate its implementation between the departments of Agriculture and Education.
To help farms and other agribusiness entities survive and grow, Causer said the committee will work to ensure regulations are more reasonable and permits are processed in a more timely manner. They will also continue to focus on the needs of the dairy industry, which has been struggling with declining prices and demand. Last year’s budget included $5 million in First Industries Program funding to support research and development, organic transition, value-added processing and marketing grants for dairy operations.
Other priorities include extending broadband service to rural communities and expanding the law allowing growth of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth in response to recent changes in the federal Farm Bill.
“The region I serve represents the diversity of the agriculture industry, including crop and livestock farming, dairy, timbering and maple syrup production,” Causer said. “Ultimately, our goal must be to support all of these farmers and producers, ensuring we have policies in place that help them thrive rather than hinder them.”
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the industry supports more than 280,000 direct jobs, $10.9 billion in direct earnings and $83.8 billion in direct output, as well as 579,000 total jobs, $26.9 billion in total earnings and $135.7 billion in total output. The state is home to more than 59,000 farms covering 7.7 million acres of farmland.
Causer has served as representative for the 67th Legislative District since 2003. For legislative updates, visit RepCauser.com
Representative Martin T. Causer
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler