HARRISBURG – Legislation providing added financial and technical assistance to farmers who implement best management practices (BMP’s) on their land was signed into law this week by Governor Tom Wolf, according to Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) prime sponsor of the measure.
Senate Bill 634, now Act 39 of 2019, establishes a Conservation Excellence Grant Program administered by the State Conservation Commission (SCC), which provides financial and technical assistance for state agricultural operations, with a primary focus on high priority locations designated by the Department of Environmental Protection as Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Chesapeake Bay counties.
“Many farmers across the state are planning and implementing best management practices, such as better manure management and vegetated stream buffers, to reduce pollutants required by federal and state mandates,” Sen. Yaw said. “To this point, many farmers have been faced with the substantial expense of implementing these practices. This new program will help alleviate the financial burdens placed on many in our agriculture community, while also helping them comply with existing federal and state mandates.”
The SCC may award grants or loans or request the Department of Revenue issue tax credits to applicants for eligible projects. Grants shall be awarded to the extent funds are provided by the General Assembly. Loans may be awarded through the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program or any other loan program approved by the commission. Tax credits may be awarded through the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Tax Credit Program.
Senate Bill 634 was a component of the “Farming First” package designed to build on the longstanding efforts of Senate Republicans to support Pennsylvania’s farm families and maintain agriculture’s status as the state’s top industry.
For more state-related news and information visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.
Rita Zielonis, Chief of Staff