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78 Main Street, 1st Floor
Bradford, PA 16701
Phone: 814-362-4400
Toll-Free:  1-866-437-8181
Fax:  814-362-4405
Hours:  Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

107 South Main Street
Room 1
Coudersport, PA 16915
Phone: 814-274-9769
Hours:  Monday through Friday
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Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

55 Fraley Street
Kane, PA 16735
Phone: 814-837-0880
Fax: 814 837-2257
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Closed noon to 1 p.m. daily

Capitol Address Information
41B East Wing
PO Box 202067
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2067
Phone: 717-787-5075
Fax:  717-705-7021

Email Address
MCauser@PahouseGOP.com

Hearing Underscores Need to Fund PA Agriculture Initiatives, Causer Says
3/15/2016
HARRISBURG – Programs supporting the state’s agriculture industry are nearing a crisis without the tens of millions of dollars in state funding vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in December. That was the message from nearly a dozen testifiers at a joint hearing of the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), chair of the House committee.

Listen to Causer’s questioning of Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding here.

“As I have said many times before, the crisis facing our ag community is a manufactured one. The governor did not have to veto this funding but chose to do so to leverage support for his plan for higher taxes and higher spending,” Causer said. “Great harm is on the door step for our farms and agriculture research, safety and outreach programs, and the same can be said for our schools, universities and hospitals.

“It is past time for the governor to release the hostages and finish the 2015-16 state budget. I stand ready – once again – to adopt a budget that is responsible to taxpayers and supports the core functions of government,” he added.

Last week, Causer joined the Penn State Ag Council and dozens of 4-H members in highlighting the impact of the budget vetoes on the university’s agriculture programs including research, extension and 4-H. The university has said it will begin to shut down the programs if funding is not restored before May 1. That would lead to the loss of an estimated 1,100 jobs and an economic loss for the state of more than $260 million.

The plea to ensure funding for Penn State Extension and 4-H was reiterated on Tuesday, but testifiers also highlighted the damage lack of funding could have on animal health and food safety initiatives.

Specifically, Vincent Price, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dean Joan Hendricks of Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine outlined the university’s work with Pennsylvania farmers, including monitoring of various types of livestock and working to help boost milk production on dairy farms. Officials also highlighted how the instability of state funding impacts its ability to recruit new veterinary medicine students and recruit and retain quality faculty.

“There is no question about the importance of animal health and safety in securing a successful future for our agriculture industry,” Causer said. “Continuing funding for our animal diagnostic laboratories at Penn State and Penn’s New Bolton Center, along with the PA Veterinary Lab, is a necessity, not only for the people working in the agriculture industry, but also for all of us who rely on it for food and other products.”

In an effort to reinstate funding for vital agriculture programs, Causer has sponsored three supplemental appropriations bills:

House Bill 1831 would restore $50 million in funding to Penn State, including its research, extension and 4-H programs.
House Bill 1832 would provide $350,000 in funding for the Hardwoods Development Council, which supports ongoing development and expansion of the forest products industry.
House Bill 1589 would amend the state’s Fiscal Code to transfer approximately $25 million from the Race Horse Development Fund to support the Veterinary Laboratory System, Animal Health Commission, agricultural fairs, Farm Show and State Racing Fund.

House Bills 1831 and 1832 are pending consideration by the House Appropriations Committee. House Bill 1589 was approved by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and is awaiting a vote by the full House.

Video footage of the hearing and links to written testimony are available at repcauser.com/agcommittee.aspx.

Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler
717.772.9846
phippler@pahousegop.com
RepCauser.com / Facebook.com/RepCauser
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