Agriculture & Rural Affairs 2019-2020

The Senate Ag and Rural Affairs Committee met on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 798, PN 1102 (Killion) – Amends the Dog Law providing for court proceedings concerning dangerous dogs and increases the registration fee for a dangerous dog from $500.00 to $1000.00.  Amendment A03164 (Vogel) was adopted, which excludes veterinarians and veterinary technicians from the definition of “owner” or “keeper of the dog.”  The bill was reported from committee as amended with Senator Brooks representing lone “no” vote.


The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee met on Monday, June 24, 2019 to consider the following:

HB 1514, PN 1910 (Hershey) – HB 1514 re-establishes and renames the current Healthy Farms Healthy Schools program as the PA Farm-to-School Program.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1516, PN 2124 (Causer) – Amends Title 3 (Agriculture) by creating a new chapter to establish the Agriculture Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account aimed at allowing for a faster response to agricultural disasters and emergencies.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1520, PN 1915 (Snyder) – Creates a new chapter in Title 3 establishing a grant program administered by the Department of Agriculture for very small meat processors to cover costs associated with compliance with Federal inspection standards.  Senator Schwank offered amendment A02395, which expands the existing PA Preferred agricultural commodities marketing program to bolster enrollment in the veteran farmer Homegrown by Heroes Program.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).

HB 1526, PN 2126 (Irvin) – Creates a new chapter in Title 3 that revises the current Agriculture-Linked Investment Program (Agri-Link). This program provides state funding for and may subsidize the interest rate on private loans used for agricultural best management practices (BMPs) such as, manure management plans, erosion and sediment plans, nutrient or odor management plans.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 1590, PN 2183 (Owlett) – HB 1590 establishes a Dairy Investment Program within the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). The program provides financial assistance in grants for projects located in Pa and that support the dairy industry.  Senator Vogel offered amendment A02461, which was technical in nature.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).


The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee met on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 661, PN 799 (J. Ward) – This bill establishes a new chapter in the Agriculture Code to provide for grants to enhance the Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  Senator Schwank offered amendment A01873, which adds definitions, makes technical changes and clarifies how funds will be distributed.  The amendment was agreed to unanimously and the bill was reported from committee as amended (also unanimous).


The Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee met on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 634, PN 779 (Yaw) – This bill amends Title 3 (Agriculture) to establish the Conservation Excellence Grant Program.  The amount of $2,500,000 is appropriated to the State Conservation Commission with the authority to prioritize projects and provide technical assistance and funding.  Senator Vogel offered amendment A01522, which removes language pertaining to tax credits and loans, making the program strictly a grant program.  The amendment was approved unanimously, and the bill was reported as amended (also unanimous).

HB 370, PN 360 (Klunk) – This bill amends the Agricultural Area Security Law to provide for restrictions, limitations and subdivision on preserved farmland.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

HB 404, PN 380 (Lawrence) – Amends the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed law to add tree of heaven as a Class B noxious weed.   This tree is a frequent target of the spotted lanternfly.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate Ag and Rural Affairs Committee met on Monday, April 30, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 583, PN 642 (Aument) – Amends the Agriculture Security Law to allow agritourism activity on land subject to a conservation easement.  These activities include farm and animal related events, tours and exhibits.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 585, PN 653 (Corman) – This legislation establishes the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission.  This Commission will make recommendations as it relates to the dairy industry; review policy, regulatory and statutory impacts on the industry; and identify impacts on local government.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).


The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee met on Monday, February 4, 2019 to consider the following:

SB 85, PN 63 (Phillips-Hill) – Amends the Dog Law to extend fee exemptions to a service dog used in the performance of services by a police department, fire department or sheriff’s office or in the performance of rescue services or emergency medical services.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 145, PN 119 (Yaw) – Amends the Agricultural Area Security Law to provide for restrictions, limitations and subdivision on preserved farmland.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

Senator Judy Schwank

Senator Judy Schwank

Committee Chair