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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

June 14, 2019 In The News

Dairy farmers have never had an easy job, but it’s no secret that life has been particularly hard the past few years.

Low prices. Cost cutting. Bad weather. Sleepless nights.

It’s enough to make a dairy farmer lose hope, and indeed, thousands have decided that the best path for their family is to sell the cows.

But dairy farming hasn’t gone the way of the dinosaurs.

There are still 12,800 dairy farms in the Northeast, more than twice the number of Walmarts in the entire U.S.

June 5, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) introduced the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019—bipartisan legislation to expand milk options for students and reverse the decline of milk consumption in schools.

May 1, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson welcomed the PA Dairymen’s Association Executive Director David Smith to testify on the state of the dairy economy.

April 5, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON –This week, U.S. Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Filemon Vela (TX-34), John Joyce (PA-13), and Henry Cuellar (TX-28) introduced H.R. 2081, the Chronic Wasting Disease Research Act, a bipartisan bill that would increase research for a fatal brain disease that is decimating deer, elk and moose herds across the country.

April 3, 2019 In The News

Area farmers are making sure their voices are heard in the nation’s capital.

Two local farmers, both Pennsylvania Farm Bureau members, were among a group that visited Washington, D.C. Feb 26-28.

“Pennsylvania Farm Bureau believes it is critically important for farmers to travel to Washington D.C. to meet face-to-face with lawmakers who represent them on national issues,” spokesman Mark O’Neill said.

March 29, 2019 Press Release

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) and Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Pa.), and more than 70 Democratic and Republican House colleagues urged the Department to prioritize the implementation of dairy provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill.

March 22, 2019 Press Release

BELLEFONTE, Pa.– U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to allow more dairy farmers the option to enroll in both the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) and Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) for 2018 coverage.

January 30, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-MN) have introduced a bill to allow for unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias.

December 12, 2018 Press Release

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today approved a 5-year Farm Bill agreement that charts a better path for America’s farmers and ranchers, rural communities, small businesses, and consumers across the country.