The Lead

Pa. lawmaker to introduce bill to incentivize farmers to adopt agroforestry practices

By: - February 17, 2023 4:43 pm

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one state lawmaker is proposing legislation to bring more trees to Pennsylvania farms. 

State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Philadelphia, said he plans to reintroduce a bill that would offer incentives to farmers who incorporate agroforestry, a land use management system that incorporates trees and shrubs growing on or near crops to lessen the environmental impact of mass agriculture. into their farming practices. 

Agroforestry methods include alley cropping, adding trees to a pasture, and cultivating crops in forested areas, into their farming practices.

Rabb, who introduced the bill as HB 2926 last session, said that the bill “will also encourage businesses in the Commonwealth to purchase or process produce derived from agroforestry and will direct the state to educate the public regarding agroforestry and its many benefits.”

He wrote in a co-sponsorship memorandum seeking legislative support that the bill will build on federal and state efforts to make agriculture more sustainable. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has already been encouraging agricultural producers across the commonwealth to adopt sustainable farming practices. 

Last April, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, alongside local agriculture officials, celebrated a public-private partnership that brought sustainable farming best practices to Lancaster County.

The partnership was funded by the state Conservation Excellence Grant, a part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill. 

“By supporting this important legislation, you will not only be joining me in helping to protect our environment, but you will also be supporting Pennsylvania farmers, businesses, and agriculture itself statewide,” Rabb wrote.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.