– Working to protect the state’s food supply and the agriculture industry, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation creating the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account.
House Bill 1516
is part of a package of bills aimed at supporting the state’s top industry.
“Every single resident of the Commonwealth relies upon our agriculture industry to put food on their tables,” Causer said. “With recent and ongoing threats to various livestock and crops, it is important we are prepared and able to respond quickly to threats for the sake of our farmers and our citizens.”
The bill would create the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account and allocate funding to the Department of Agriculture to facilitate a quick response to agricultural disasters, including using animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, or providing an immediate response to a foodborne illness.
Spotted Lanternfly is an ongoing threat facing multiple segments of the agriculture industry, including grapes, fruit trees and hardwoods. Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to China, India and Vietnam. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County in 2014 but has since spread to more than a dozen counties in the eastern and southcentral regions of the state.
In 2015, the state was preparing for a potential outbreak of avian influenza as the disease spread across the country in nearly two dozen states.
“We face threats to animal health and crop issues virtually every day,” Causer said. “With monitoring and surveillance systems already in place to promptly identify potential threats, creating this disaster readiness account is a vital next step to ensure we have the resources to provide a rapid and well-coordinated response.”
Causer’s bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for consideration.
Representative Martin T. Causer
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler