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Three grants are being awarded in Bradford and Lycoming counties to improve agriculture education. Stock Photo by Tom Fisk

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania's state government announced that three grants are being awarded in Bradford and Lycoming counties to improve agriculture education. With a spotlight on Pennsylvania's agricultural industry thanks to the 2020 Farm Show, this was a fitting time to make the announcement.

“Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s leading industry, and it is critical that we provide the education necessary to prepare future generations of farmers,” Senator Gene Yaw said during the announcement. “I was pleased that $36,750 will be directed back to Bradford and Lycoming counties through the Ag and Youth Grant Program.”

In Bradford County, the Pennsylvania State University will receive $4,500 for area students to make and package cheese, to learn about food safety and entrepreneurship, as well as visit a dairy farm to learn about dairy production and farm management. Additionally, Canton Area School District will receive $7,250 for the purchase of hydroponics equipment for Canton Area Future Farmers of America (FFA) students and environmental science, agriculture science, and agricultural biology students.

In Lycoming County, Montoursville Area School District will receive a $25,000 matching grant to upgrade the agriculture education program’s computer numerical control (CNC) equipment.

The Ag and Youth Grant Program was re-established with enactment of Senate Bill 661 in 2019. It was one of several legislative steps taken to address the estimated 75,000-member workforce deficit that Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry is expected to face in the coming decade.

The program, funded this year at $500,000, provides youth organizations direct, non-matching grants of up to $7,500 to defray costs of eligible projects and matching reimbursement grants of up to $25,000 for capital projects or equipment purchases. Eligible projects included those that are for education or workforce development seminars or field trips; agricultural safety training programs; and capital projects or equipment.