HARRISBURG, Pa. — On Monday, Jan. 6, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Education Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman announced $500,000 in agriculture education grants as part of the PA Farm Bill.
Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 40 to restart the Ag and Youth Grant Program in July last year.
The money will fund ag-related projects and equipment purchases.
The ag industry is in a good place, Redding said, but there must be an investment so young people will want “to be part of the industry for years to come.”
“These grants will provide invaluable experiences, helping to inspire our next generation of farmers and producers,” said Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre, minority chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
The grants will fund 55 projects in 25 counties. The direct grant projects are, by county:
Allegheny County: Bible Center Oasis Project, $7,500, urban agriculture programming; Pennsylvania State University, $5,893, community pollinator garden
Blair County: Williamsburg Community Junior Senior High School, $7,500, equipment
Bradford County: Pennsylvania State University, $4,500, cheese-making program and Canton Area School District, $7,250, hydroponics equipment
Bucks County: Pennsylvania State University, $3,000, Animal and Veterinary Science Clinic
Centre County: Pennsylvania State University, $7,500, robotics program
Chester County: Chester County FFA, $7,500, equipment; Chester County Intermediate Unit, $6,900, Animal and Veterinary Science Program; Octorara Area School District, $3,500, drone purchase for precision agriculture
Clarion County: Pennsylvania State University, $6,894, community pollinator garden
Clinton County: Keystone Central School District Career and Technology Center, $5,500, equipment
Columbia County: Central Columbia FFA, $7,500, equipment
Cumberland County: West Shore School District, $3,510, aquaponics equipment; The Gardens at Boiling Springs, $7,360, hydroponics equipment; Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture, $7,500, scholarships for 15 schools in the commonwealth to host the Mobile Ag Lab
Erie County: Erie School District, $6,010, urban ag program; Union City Area School District, $7,500, equipment
Franklin County: Franklin County 4-H Goat Club, $7,500, purchase of animal pens; Franklin County Career Tech, $7,350, equipment; Franklin County FFA, $1,500, equipment
Greene County: West Greene School District, $7,490, fume extraction unit for ag mechanic program
Jefferson County: Brockway School District, $7,500, equipment
Montgomery County: Stewart Middle School Garden, $2,000, garden program
Montour County: Danville Area High School, $7,500, iron working equipment
Northumberland County: Warrior Run School District, $5,862, hydroponic equipment
Perry County: LEAF Project Inc., $7,500, community garden program
Philadelphia County: Vepo Farms, $7,500, hydroponics equipment and specialized programs for students with autism; Philly Goat Project, $7,500, middle school livestock program; The U School, $5,120, expand intensive senior year agriculture CTE program; VietLead, $5,120, urban ag program; W.B. Saul High School Philadelphia School District, $7,500, laptops for CTE program; Graced Early Learning Center, $7,500, elementary ag program; Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council, $7,500, ag mentoring program; Norris Square Neighborhood Project, $6,500, heritage crop program
Tioga County: Wellsboro Area School District, $2,000, Mobile Ag Science Lab
Washington County: Burgettstown Area School District, $7,500, creation of an FFA chapter
Wayne County: Wayne Highlands School District, $7,500, Mobile Ag Lab
York County: Northern York School District $7,500, to Gifford Pinchot FFA for enhancements to their middle school programming and workforce development through industry tours and professional certification courses.
Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy, $7,500, to fund the purchase of hydroponics equipment for students to grow seeds, which will then be transferred to areas where students are working to restore native habitats.
York County Libraries, $7,500, for York County Libraries SummerQuest to incorporate gardening and farm field trips to expose children to agriculture.
And 12 matching grant projects:
Allegheny County: Hilltop Urban Farm, $25,000, farm expansion
Bedford County: Bedford County Tech Center, $8,000, ag science structure
Centre County: Pennsylvania State University, $25,000, high tunnels for student farm
Chester County: Octorara Area School District, $12,500, precision ag equipment
Greene County: West Greene School District, $25,000, ag ed facility upgrade
Lancaster County: Penn Manor School District, $21,154, ag mechanics equipment
Lycoming County: Montoursville Area School District, $25,000, upgrade CNC equipment
Montgomery County: The Farm, Home, and Youth Foundation of Montgomery County, $25,000, 4-H Center upgrade; Variety, $14,000, to engage youth with disabilities in farm to table production
Philadelphia County: School District of Philadelphia, $25,000, Fox Chase Farm program expansiom; JASTECH/Overbrook Environmental Education Center, $7,500, purchase high tunnel
Tioga County: North Penn Liberty Southern Tioga School District $25,000 for a building to house the Ag Production Career and Technical Education program and FFA chapter.