HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - This week, Governor Tom Wolf and state agriculture officials are celebrating the impact of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, the first state-based farm bill in the country. 

The bill was signed in 2019 by Governor Wolf. Since then, it’s invested nearly $72 million in hundreds of projects around the commonwealth. 

"I created the Pennsylvania Farm Bill to support the future success of agriculture in the commonwealth, to remove barriers to entry for first generation agriculturalists, to grow infrastructure for improved food security, to support the sustainability of our farms, and invest in opportunities for the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said Wolf. 

The Farm Bill provides various grants for the agriculture industry including grants to support the next generation of farmers. Lawmakers and officials say succession and planning grants can help current farmers and their families prepare for a smooth transition and a successful future.  

“Agriculture is the cornerstone of our economy. It's the cornerstone of our commonwealth and the key to our future. Thanks to the Farm Bill, we're building a strong foundation for a bright future,” said Wolf. “When our farmers succeed, we all succeed,” he added. 

Gov. Wolf says the next generation will play a vital role in the commonwealth’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.  

"We're actually lucky, we have one of the youngest sets of farm owners of any state in the United States. But we still have work to do because farms need to have a succession plan in place,” said Wolf. 

Officials say the grants associated with the Farm Bill are making the succession process easier, removing barriers for new farmers, and promoting food security in the United States. They say the impacts are being felt in every corner of the commonwealth, including Erie. 

“We saw in the Erie School District, where because of an individual who felt like food and nutrition in the cafeteria of that school is an important message in their school, that now has a garden, that now has it integrated into curriculum because of the Farm Bill,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. 

The Farm Bill was fully funded for the fourth year in a row, receiving over $13 million in the new budget.