Budget battle forces Pa. agriculture programs to plan for layoffs

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed agriculture funding

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed agriculture funding

    Agriculture programs that haven’t received funds from Pennsylvania say their time is running out.

    The dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences said 1,100 researchers and extension employees will get pink slips in May if the school’s roughly $50 million state appropriation doesn’t materialize soon.

    Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed agriculture funding, along with other items, late last year in an effort to bring budget negotiators back to the table.

    Wolf’s spokesman said that the governor is still waiting for the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a complete budget, along with new revenues to support it. GOP lawmakers are talking about approving supplemental funding measures for agriculture programs and other vetoed items, but they’re not saying how they would pay for the spending.

    “There’s a lot of negativity right now around this issue,” said Brad Hollabaugh, an Adams County fruit grower. He said he sees agricultural extension personnel as his “first-responders” when he needs information about the latest pest invasion.

    “At least from the standpoint of the tree fruit industry, we implore the legislature and the governor to get it together,” added Hollabaugh, “and keep our rich programs in place.”

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