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Agriculture

Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s number one industry and plays a key role in economic development of communities throughout the 15th District and the broader Commonwealth.

Agriculture is engrained in Pennsylvania’s heritage and has played an important role in our history. Today, agriculture continues to be Pennsylvania’s number one industry and remains the economic engine in many communities throughout the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is home to a diverse array of commodities and products, including dairy, grains, vegetables, specialty crops, cattle, poultry, equines, wineries and a well-defined timber industry. 

As a descendent of dairy farmers, I am proud to be an active member of the House Agriculture Committee. Previously, I served as Vice Chairman of the Committee and currently serve as Ranking Member of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. The Farm Bill is the central law governing federal agriculture, rural and related nutrition programs, and remains vital for the success of our farmers and rural America. Oversight of this critical law allows us to improve federal policies that govern our nation’s agricultural sector and ensure the continuation of vital research and development of new technologies and processes that will assist our family farms into the 21st Century.

Key Issues

Farm Bill Implementation: In December of 2018, President Trump signed into law a new five-year farm bill. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture implements this new law, Congress will continue to provide essential oversight.

Rural Development: Rural Development is one of my top issues as a member of Congress and as a member of the Agriculture Committee. Creating jobs and expanding technology, such as broadband and cell phone coverage, is a major challenge that must be met in order to improve and sustain rural Pennsylvania.

USDA administers a variety of programs that are extremely beneficial to the 15th Congressional District and rural America. My offices in Bellefonte, Ebensburg and Oil City work with our constituents, local governments, and community organizations to help them receive this assistance in the form of grants, loans and technical assistance. For more information, please contact my Bellefonte office at (814) 353-0215, Ebensburg office at (814) 419-8583 or Oil City office at (814) 670-0432.

Dairy: With Pennsylvania ranking fourth in production among the states, dairy is the largest sector of Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry. Unfortunately, many dairy farmers around the nation have endured great difficulties in the past decade due to depressed prices and lower consumption. 

The 2018 Farm Bill reworked the prior dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) and replaced it with the Dairy Margin Coverage Program (DMC). Enrollment for DMC remains open until September 20, 2019. To learn more about this important program, visit the website of the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Along with revamping the safety net, more must be done to promote the nutritional value that dairy provides. In 2010, legislation was passed by Congress and signed into law that prohibited nutritious varieties of milk from being served in the National School Lunch Program. As a result, milk consumption in schools plummeted since. To reverse this trend, I have introduced legislation that would provide schools the option to once again serve nutritious whole milk to kids.

Forest Products: Pennsylvania is blessed with some of the finest hardwood timber in the world. For generations, timber harvesting has been an economic engine throughout the region, while also serving a dual role of providing environmental and forest management benefits. In Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District, we need to look no further than our own Allegheny National Forest (ANF) to see firsthand how national forests can successfully operate for multiple uses.

More than a billion dollars in hardwoods and hardwood products are exported from the United States each year. Among the many products, forest goods range from furniture and musical instruments to flooring. As these markets continue to expand, it will be crucial to ensure there is proper management of our national forests. As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I will continue oversight of the U.S. Forest Service and the various forest-related programs administered by USDA.

If you have questions on my views on agriculture issues, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-5121.

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More on Agriculture

May 14, 2020 In The News

America has found itself in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis the likes of which many have not experienced in their lifetimes. There are those who run from crisis, those who run toward it, and those who find themselves right in the middle without any say in the matter. Today, many of those in the middle are the men and women stocking, sanitizing, and serving our communities in grocery and convenience stores throughout the country.

May 14, 2020 In The News

New legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, R-Centre, would provide a federal tax holiday and payroll tax exemption for essential employees in the food and agriculture industry who are working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation Act would exempt those workers from paying federal taxes on income earned Feb. 15 through June 15.

May 13, 2020 In The News

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-15th District, on Tuesday co-introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry defined by recent Department of Homeland Security guidance.

Also introducing the bill - known as the Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation, or the AG CHAIN Act - was U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, a Democrat from Philadelphia.

May 13, 2020 In The News

U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) and Dwight Evans (PA-03), on Tuesday, introduced the Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation, or the AG CHAIN Act.

The bill is an extension of the previously introduced GROCER Act.

The bill would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for all essential employees in the food and agriculture industry defined by recent Department of Homeland Security guidance.

May 12, 2020 Press Release

HOWARD, PA — Today, Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) and Dwight Evans (PA-03) introduced the Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation, or the AG CHAIN Act. The bill is an extension of the previously introduced 

April 29, 2020 Press Release

HOWARD, PA — Members of the House Agriculture Committee took to social media today to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the House Agriculture Committee. Congressman Glenn 'GT' Thompson, senior member of the Committee and former Vice Chairman, issued the following statement:

April 27, 2020 In The News

Representatives Glenn 'GT' Thompson and Dwight Evans discuss the GROCER Act with Nexstar's Basil John.

 

April 24, 2020 In The News

Legislation recently introduced in the state House would establish a federal tax holiday for grocery and convenience store employees from Feb. 15 to June 15 for those making less than $75,000 annually.

The Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief (GROCER) Act would also provide the Treasury Department the discretion to extend this benefit for an additional three months.

April 24, 2020 In The News

Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) and Dwight Evans (PA-03) recently introduced the Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief Act, or GROCER Act. The bill would establish a federal tax holiday for grocery and convenience store employees from February 15 through June 15 for individuals making less than $75,000 annually. The bill would also provide discretion to the Treasury to extend this benefit for an additional three months.

April 23, 2020 In The News

U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, and Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, have introduced what they call the Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief Act, or GROCER Act, which would establish a federal tax holiday for grocery and convenience store employees making less than $75,000 a year.

The tax holiday would run through June 15 and provide the Treasury Department with discretion to extend that benefit for another three months.