$445,000 in PA Farm Bill Funds Available for Research Projects

Russell ReddingCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding is calling for proposals for research projects that will strengthen and grow Pennsylvania’s poultry, swine, lamb, sheep and goat farming industries. Funded by the 2020 PA Farm Bill, $445,000 is available for research projects to enhance biosecurity, diagnostic testing, veterinary telemedicine and other strategies to prevent, detect and manage animal diseases and protect the food supply.

“Science helps us produce more food and do it safely and sustainably, staying ahead of evolving diseases that bring catastrophic farm losses, devastate our economy and disrupt our food chain,” said Redding. “Our goal is to invest in projects that help Pennsylvania produce food more safely, humanely and efficiently, boosting the bottom line across all types and sizes of farms.”

The Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence, created under the 2019 PA Farm Bill and funded again at $1 million in the 2020 PA Farm Bill, supports the animal ag industry with biosecurity planning and disease prevention, processing capacity, and food safety and quality assurance. In his 2021-’22 budget, Governor Tom Wolf has proposed funding the center at $1 million for a third year.

To date, the center has awarded nearly $1.4 million, including $608,740 in projects and $285,000 in personal protective equipment (PPE) for farm operations funded through the 2019 Farm Bill, and $505,033 in projects funded to date through the 2020 Farm Bill.

The center is managed by PennAg Industries Association. The center’s board will review projects to be funded and assess their potential to meet the grant’s goals.

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“The Center for Poultry & Livestock Excellence is an excellent demonstration of industry, government and academia working together to solve today’s challenges,” said Board Chairman Jim Shirk. “We are excited to continue enhancing and expanding collaborations with the commonwealth to protect and grow our agricultural industry.”

Funding priorities are as follows.

$380,000 will be allocated for:

  • Developing innovative methods to manage disease outbreaks in humane, safe, practical and efficient ways in large-scale livestock and poultry operations;
  • Practical biosecurity implementation for commercial and backyard domestic livestock operations, recognizing threats such operations face from wildlife and inherent risks operations pose to each other;
  • Increasing diagnostic tools available through the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System to support food-animal production with focus on enhanced methods to detect, differentiate and manage pathogens;
  • Development, training and opportunities for food animal veterinarians to explore the capability of remote telemedicine to address challenges of supporting livestock health and animal productivity in rural Pennsylvania;
  • Studying various culturally-based live-animal sale practices to improve disease traceability in custom-butchered animals; and
  • Solicitation of industry input on specific diseases to identify and estimate the economic impact on PA food-animal operations.

Approximately $50,000 will be allocated for:

  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis of Pennsylvania animal agriculture, including small ruminants, swine, poultry, dairy and beef. Complete statewide analysis with regional subsection findings to assist in identifying economic impact, environment footprint, regional challenges, and areas of growth for animal health and food safety.

Apply online through PennAg. Full grant proposal guidelines can be found on the department’s website. Proposals must be received by 11:00 AM on Monday, May 21, 2021.

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An additional $15,000 is available for sponsorship of events with a statewide impact with the goal of enhancing poultry, swine, lamb, sheep and goat production. Those interested in being considered for sponsorship should complete the center’s online form.

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