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.
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.
More on Agriculture
The House Agriculture Committee is often touted as a sanctum of bipartisanship. It was anything but as the first markup of the 117th Congress was held, examining a majority-drafted coronavirus aid bill.
One Republican sponsored amendment, also backed by Democrat Cindy Axne of Iowa, made it through committee. That addition, that would have extended WHIP+ disaster aid to 2020 events such as the Iowa derecho, was stripped out of the legislation in the rules committee.
House Agriculture Committee Republicans plan to introduce their own Covid-19 relief plan Thursday, showcasing their priorities for a bipartisan package.
The discussion draft spearheaded by ranking member Glenn “GT” Thompson (Pa.) and other panel Republicans would provide $2.1 billion for rural health clinics, hospitals, schools, and other facilities, and $1 billion for biofuels producers hurt by the pandemic, among other measures to support farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
The House Agriculture Committee plans to pursue climate change remedies, social justice, and aid for rural America in a sweeping agenda when Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) and ranking member Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) take over amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Each of these issues we have to touch — climate change, status of Black farmers, food security, rural-urban divide, and crop insurance — we’ve got to unite together as Democrats and Republicans, and save our nation before it’s too late,” Scott said.
The new COVID Relief Bill contained much more than $600 for individuals. It did something the CARES Act of 2019 did not do; it included relief for agriculture.
"There are some good things for agriculture in the COVID relief bill," said U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-15) who is the new Republican leader on the Agriculture Committee.
The coronavirus relief bill that has been approved by Congress includes much-needed help for the agriculture industry, Congressman Glenn Thompson says.
For Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre, the COVID-19 pandemic has showed the value — and vulnerability — of regions like Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District: a 14-county expanse of rural farmland, forests and recreation areas dotted with a major land grant university, energy production and manufacturing.
Mr. Thompson, entering his seventh term in Congress as the longest-serving Republican lawmaker from Pennsylvania, said he recognizes the challenges facing his swath of north-central Pennsylvania.
Congressman Glenn GT Thompson, GOP Leader Elect of the House Ag Committee, says his number one priority is building resiliency within the ag food supply chain.
“We’ve all witnessed the disruptions as a result of the coronavirus,” he says. “I’m excited that we’re talking on the week where the first vaccines are already being delivered around the country and being received but we have a few months here yet that we still will have to deal with some of the impacts of the coronavirus and I think building resiliency within the ag industry has to be a priority for us.”