HARRISBURG – Legislation designed to further assist agricultural operations in times of disaster was approved today by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, according to Committee Chairman State Senator Elder Vogel (R-47) and State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23), the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1323.
The legislative measure will establish the ‘Agriculture Disaster Recovery Program’ to be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
“The Agriculture Disaster Recovery Program will provide assistance to those working in agriculture in the event of a catastrophic event. The process of rebuilding after a flood or another disaster is all the more difficult when your source of income has been taken away,” Vogel said. “This legislation is a vital component of the flood relief package and I want to thank Senator Yaw for all his hard work in moving this legislation forward.”
“This program will offer increased flexibility and assistance to producers, not only today but in the future, who are facing income and production-related losses as a direct result of an agricultural disaster.” Yaw said. “I commend Chairman Vogel and my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee for seeing the importance of such legislation that will help Pennsylvania’s producers.”
Components of the program will include a 100 percent guarantee provided by the Commonwealth through the First Industries Loan Program and interest rate reduction which is capped at four percent for the agricultural operation, providing for zero interest loans.
The legislative measure was amended to remove the ability of the Department of Agriculture or the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to issue loans from the Agriculture Disaster Recovery Account. The amendment also adds “floodway” and “floodway restoration” as part of the eligible disaster assistance use.
Senate Bill 1323 will be included as part of the flood relief package previously introduced in the Senate following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
This bill now moves to the full Senate for its consideration.
Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280 (Sen. Yaw)
Mike Rader, 717-787-3076 (Sen. Vogel)