Pennsylvania House Bill 2926, to support “agroforestry,” was introduced on Nov. 21 by Representative Christopher Rabb and his colleagues. The bill, referred to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, would provide grants to resident farmers and resident businesses to support the practice as Rabb described and defended it on the Pennsylvania legislature website:
“Agroforestry is a practice that incorporates trees, which remove carbon from the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, into annual crops grown by farmers. The practice utilizes trees to combat climate change by transforming carbon dioxide into biomass, filtering waterways, and stabilizing the atmosphere.
“Agroforestry is used in several ways, including planting rows of trees periodically throughout a farm field, adding trees to a pasture, and cultivating crops under tree canopies, plus the more common windbreaks and riparian buffers.
“Currently, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is conducting research projects in Pennsylvania by testing eight tree-planting methods on five farms. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are trying to expand the number of farmers who grow perennial crops near rivers, creating riparian buffers.
“My proposal will further these efforts by providing incentives for farmers to incorporate agroforestry methods into their farming practices and providing incentives for nurseries to provide the trees needed for agroforestry. It 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.
“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 concluded.
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. - Assemblyman Christopher Rabb