Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives approved $159 million for agriculture programs on Tuesday as part of the state’s general budget.
The spending is a $19 million increase over last year.
The bill includes new money to implement parts of Gov. Tom Wolf’s PA Farm Bill proposal, including centers of agricultural excellence, disaster preparedness and response, and the PA Preferred branding program.
Penn State’s ag research and Extension would get $55 million, a 2% increase over last year.
The budget also restores funding for livestock shows, and ag research and promotion that Wolf customarily cuts as a negotiating tactic.
The budget bill does not include funding for the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school. Lawmakers were due to vote later Tuesday on a separate bill giving the school $31.6 million, a 2% increase.
The debate before Tuesday’s budget vote, already a lengthy process because many lawmakers want to speak, got off to a rocky start after Democrats sought to discuss an increase in the minimum wage.
House Speaker Mike Turzai, a Republican, blocked that topic as not germane to the budget bill, but had difficulty stopping Democrats from mentioning it anyway.
With the state in its best fiscal situation since the Great Recession, lawmakers were able to put more than $250 million into the state's Rainy Day Fund.
The House vote for the $34 billion budget was 140-62. The bill heads to the Senate as the end-of-month deadline looms.