See the updates below about what the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has to offer.

Ag Business

Dairy Indemnity Program (Application/Reimbursement)

Dairy farmers who experienced financial losses due to discarded or displaced milk during the COVID-19 emergency disaster may apply for assistance through the Dairy Indemnity Program, part of the $40 million in funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Each farm with a documented loss will receive a minimum of $1,500 and an additional prorated share of the remaining funds, not to exceed the actual amount assessed by the handler. The deadline to apply for the Dairy Indemnity Program is September 30, 2020.

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PA Preferred Organic 

The PA Preferred® Organic Program was created as part of the 2019 PA Farm Bill with a goal to increase market opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers and make PA the leader in organic agriculture. Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony (USDA National Organic Standards Board, 1995). For example, inputs such as manure and compost help build soil rich in organic matter, providing nutrients to crops and requiring less dependence on synthetic fertilizers. 

Agricultural Business Development Center

Established as part of the 2019 PA Farm Bill, the Agricultural Business Development Center (ABDC) is a new initiative spanning the Bureau of Market Development's Economic Development Division and the Bureau of Farmland Preservation. The new Center replaces both the Center for Farm Transitions and the Preserved Farm Resource Center.

Designed to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania farms, the ABDC is focused on providing support for sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production, and in building a team of financial and technical expertise as a resource for Pennsylvania farmers. 

Specifically, the ABDC supports Farm Transitions, linking farmers to the next phase of their life and their farm's future; Beginning Farmers, providing advice and counsel to the next generation of Pennsylvania producers; Risk Management, providing information on crop insurance and other risk management options; and Financial Assistance, connecting farmers with low-interest loan options and reimbursable grant programs.

 To meet the challenges of 21st Century agriculture, the ABDC will help grow opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and cultivate and nurture future generations to maintain the sustainability of Pennsylvania's premier industry.

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Food Accessibility 

Fresh Food Financing Initiative

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), a statewide financing program, was designed to attract supermarkets and grocery stores to under­served urban and rural communities. The program, which began in 2004, ended six years later when all of its funds were deployed. The goal of the FFFI COVID-19 Relief Fund is to provide grant support to food retailing businesses impacted by COVID-19 to ensure that amidst the pandemic, communities can maintain healthy food access. In recognition of the disproportionate impacts of both COVID-19 and food apartheid on communities made up of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and especially Black and African American communities, prioritization will be given to those businesses that are owned by and serve low-income BIPOC communities.

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Pennsylvania Agriculture Surplus System 

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) program helps to support Pennsylvania's agricultural industry statewide – making connections between production agriculture and the non-profit sector responsible for getting more nutritious food into the hands of Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger. PASS provides an efficient mechanism for Pennsylvania's agricultural industry to donate safe, wholesome food products to the charitable food system while being reimbursed for the costs involved in harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting these foods. Without PASS, these food products would likely otherwise be left to rot in the field, be plowed under, be dumped, or be landfilled. 

Producers interested in learning more about participating in this program should contact the Bureau of Food Assistance at or Tom Mainzer/Feeding Pennsylvania at

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Farmers Market Nutrition Program 

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provide WIC recipients and low-income seniors with fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from approved farmers' in Pennsylvania.

Farmers Accepting the Checks: Only farmers authorized by the State agency may accept and redeem FMNP and SFMNP checks.  Individuals who exclusively sell produce grown by someone else or purchased from a wholesale distributor cannot be authorized to participate in the FMNP. An application can be found HERE.

How the Program Works for Recipients: Recipients are given a list of participating farmers and farmers' markets when they receive their checks. These checks are redeemed for fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Pennsylvania. Each eligible recipient receives 4 - $6.00 FMNP checks to redeem at a qualified farmers' markets or roadside stands.  There are over 1,160 FMNP participating farmers at 828 farm stands and 88 farmers' markets in Pennsylvania.

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