Pa. farmers, producers urged to participate in USDA Census of Agriculture | Five for the Weekend

Happy weekend, all. 

State officials are urging farmers and agricultural producers across the commonwealth to participate in the 2022 Census of Agriculture from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The Census of Agriculture is conducted nationally every five years to gather data to “help give an accurate picture of agricultural production in every U.S. county, inform food and agriculture policies and programs, and guide investments that will grow and sustain the industry,” the state Department of Agriculture said in a statement.

“If you aren’t counted, you just may not count,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “But if you invest a little time in answering the census, you will be helping shape farm policies and decisions that will affect your future, bring opportunities for growth and funding to Pennsylvania, and help ensure that your family, your farm, and your sector of ag count.”

The data collected from the census will influence how funds and initiatives are directed from government agencies and legislators, and help policymakers plan for infrastructure projects, such as broadband, roads, water, energy, and education.

Redding urged the more than 52,000 farmers and producers across Pennsylvania to fill out the census questionnaire.

“Respond today,” Redding said. “The Census of Agriculture is your voice, your future, your opportunity.”

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

The Respect for Marriage Act will reverse the 1996 law that defines marriage as one between heterosexual couples (Image by
Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images/The Conversation).

1. Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act. It’s not without its limits | Opinion

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve the Respect for Marriage Act – a bill already passed in the Senate to codify both interracial and same-gender marriage – on Dec. 8, 2022.

President Joe Biden has said that he will sign the bill into federal law shortly after the upcoming House vote. This will protect the right to same-gender marriage, which is often referred to as same-sex marriage.

Many leaders of major LGBTQ+ rights organizations have praised the Respect for Marriage Act. For example, Kelley Robinson, president of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, said in November 2022 that the act will allow “the 568,000 same-sex married couples in this country … (to) breathe a sigh of relief that their marriages will be protected from future attacks.”

Pa. House Majority Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, meets the press after Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/4/2020 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

2. The fight over control of the Pa. House is Harrisburg high-stakes lunacy at its worst

Pa. House Majority Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, meets the press after Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday, 2/4/2020 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

If you were looking for a textbook instance of Harrisburg’s bare knuckles politics at its worst and most vivid, you don’t have to look much further than the increasingly nasty sparring over who’s in charge of the 203-member state House as the start of a new legislative session beckons in January.

In case you’ve been busy prepping for the holidays, and haven’t had time or inclination to tune in (and, really, who could blame you?), here’s the SparkNotes version of what’s transpired so far:

Then-Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro addressed supporters at campaign event on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

3. Pa. Gov-elect Shapiro’s transition team includes more than a dozen LGBTQ members

In the few weeks since Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro won the Pennsylvania election, he has been assembling a transition team to help develop a plan for his new administration. Out of dozens of members spanning multiple subdivisions of those committees, at least 13 members are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Governor-Elect Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Davis are committed to building an Administration that represents our entire Commonwealth, and they’re proud to have so many LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates from across Pennsylvania on their transition team,” Shapiro-Davis Transition Spokesperson Manuel Bonder said in an email. “This diverse, experienced group of leaders will ensure the Shapiro-Davis Administration is ready to get to work on day one to create jobs, improve our schools, make our communities safer, and protect real freedom and equality for all Pennsylvanians.”

State Sen. Nikil Saval, D-Philadelphia, speaks during the Whole-Home Repairs Act Rally held on the Capitol steps on May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg, for the Capital-Star). State Sen. Nikil Saval, D-Philadelphia, speaks during the Whole-Home Repairs Act Rally held on the Capitol steps on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 in Harrisburg, Pa. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).

4. DCED opens application for Whole-Home Repairs Program. Here’s what to know

Applications for a $120 million home repair program officially opened for Pennsylvania counties this week.

The Department of Community and Economic Development announced that Pennsylvania counties and eligible nonprofits can now apply for the Whole-Home Repairs Program, which passed with the most recent state budget and aims to address housing insecurity, safety, accessibility, and weatherization.

House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler speaks to reporters on the House floor Monday, 12/12/2022 in a screen shot from video provided by the House Republican Caucus.

5. Cutler takes oath as House Republican Leader days after Dems declare control of special elections

Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, was sworn in as House Republican leader on Monday in the latest act of brinkmanship over control of the General Assembly’s lower chamber.

Cutler’s early oath of office follows Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton’s swearing in last Wednesday, after which she declared herself House majority leader. She cited the election of Democrats to 102 of the House’s 203 seats in November as the basis for claiming leadership.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.



Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Cassie Miller

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