(NewsNation) — The future of farming could be here with a state-level loan program to assist first-time farmers.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced access to a new round of loans, grants and other incentives to help this next generation of farmers
“It’s a convergence of things. So maybe we started out with an economic impact study, several years ago that confirmed for us the importance of agriculture in the state,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said on “Morning in America.” “18% of our gross state product in the state is agriculture. And then you couple that with what we saw in COVID, and then you add to it the prices that we talked about this morning and Ukraine, it’s a convergence of things, but the right direction for us.”
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The Pennsylvania Farm Bill was introduced by Wolf in 2019. Since the pandemic and crisis in Ukraine, Wolf has designated more money for the program. Redding said they want to prioritize farming just as much as Main Street.
“We don’t make a distinction between the type of business that qualifies. So we want to make sure that agriculture is a business, it’s a business without walls,” Redding said. “But we want it full access, just like we’ve been treating manufacturing or the business on Main Street. So agriculture has full access. And then secondly, is to make sure that we couple that with the other components of our Pennsylvania Farm Bill, which are vitality grants, and education, conservation. So it’s the package of things that really leverages that next generation from a loan program.”
Watch the full interview with Redding in the player above.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.