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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

December 4, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Senior Member of the House Agriculture Committee and former Chairman of the Nutrition Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) final rule, regarding requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents:

November 15, 2019 In The News

With the Pennsylvania bat population threatened, Howard Nursery is making more bat boxes than ever before. On Saturday, the nursery will host an event to promote conservation of these “good neighbors.”

September 13, 2019 In The News

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-15th District, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District, have introduced the Abandoned Mine Land Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4248) to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) trust fund.

According to a news release from Thompson's office, the bill will clean abandoned coal mines and foster economic development in communities that have been impacted by their closure.

September 13, 2019 In The News

 Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, lauded the end of the Waters of the United States Rule.

The Environment Protection Agency and Army Corp of Engineers announced the end of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule on Thursday.

September 12, 2019 Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee and former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, released the following statement after the Environment Protection Agency and Army Corp of Engineers announced the end of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule:

September 11, 2019 In The News

Two Pennsylvania congressmen, including Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard, have introduced legislation to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land trust fund established 42 years ago.

Thompson, whose 15th District includes Indiana County, and Eighth District U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Lackawanna County, are co-sponsors of House of Representatives or H.R. 4248, the Abandoned Mine Land Reauthorization Act.

September 6, 2019 In The News

Back-to-school season is giving some Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers a chance to renew their fight for whole milk in schools.

August 13, 2019 In The News

Pennsylvania dairy farmers have been under continuous pressure of decreasing fluid milk consumption in the country and tight markets met by production surpluses and tariffs. Congressman Glenn Thompson led a summit at Mount Aloysius College in Cambria County Monday, reassuring producers and farmers that a handful of new policies would offer meaningful assistance to the industry.

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.