Ag. secretary speaks in Wysox
WYSOX - In a short speech on Wednesday in Wysox, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture George Greig outlined what he said were important changes that have been made under the Corbett administration to improve agriculture, and discussed ways to improve it further.
"I feel the future of Pennsylvania looks very bright in Pennsylvania and Bradford County," he said at a an agricultural conference in Wysox, which was co-sponsored by the Bradford County Conservation District.
A bill that ends Pennsylvania's inheritance tax on working farms, which was signed into law at the end of June, "is a big deal for Pennsylvania farmers," Greig said.
Too often in the past, "parts of farms had to be sold off so that the next generation could pay the inheritance tax," Greig said.
Now that the inheritance has been eliminated, farmers will be more likely to invest money into their farms, he said.
In addition, "Pennsylvania Preferred," whose symbol is a gold check in a blue keystone, is now the permanent brand for Pennsylvania agricultural products, showing that they are made or grown in Pennsylvania, he said.
The Pennsylvania Preferred program promotes Pennsylvania agricultural products, "keeps money in the local economy," and is helping to strengthen Pennsylvania's economy, he said.
Recent agriculture transportation bills that have been signed into law that "allow farmers to safely operate farm equipment with less restrictions," he said.
Exports of Pennsylvania's agricultural products are an important part of the future of Pennsylvania's agriculture industry, which is the number one industry in the state, he said.
For example, last year, Pennsylvania exported 61,000 dairy replacement heifers, he said.
"We need to keep providing opportunities for our youth and all the people who are interested in getting involved in agriculture," he said.
Pennsylvania currently leads the nation in farmland preservation with 470,000 acres dedicated to farmland preservation, he said. A total of 2,500 of those acres are in Bradford County, he said.
Including land in the state's farmland preservation program "guarantees that it will stay in agricultural production and protects the agricultural industry in the future," he said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org