I love Fall. Not just because I hate hot weather but because I love all the other things that go with the season – colorful leaves, cozy fabrics, hot beverages, and fairs. I had to check out the Unionville Community Fair in Chester County. The fair was set on a old farm property adjacent to the high school.
It was well worth a visit. It is rare in this area to find a festival with livestock. This aspect makes this fair unique. The lamas and goats were adorable. There was an opportunity for kids to get to milk a goat. I just wish there had been more dairy cows in the large tent.
There were the usual fair food trucks, vendors, and activities for the kids. Polish food followed by funnel cake is a win in my book any day. While I was eating, the kids participated in a sing a long with Elsa from “Frozen.” I also bought some awesome local honey at one of the vendors. I don’t don’t normally love honey, but this stuff was great.
Pennsylvania’s first ever Farm Bill was recently signed into law and provides $24 million in funds to support the agricultural industry. It is designed to increase opportunities in areas such as dairy, hemp and organics and remove barriers for young farmers’ entry into the profession. The bill also decreases some regulatory burdens on farmers.
The bill is comprehensive, so I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of the areas that might be of most interest or immediately helpful. Here are some of the most interesting parts of the bill:
Funding for the Pennsylvania Agricultural Business Development Center to serve as a resource to help farmers create a business plan, transition plan, or succession plan.
A realty transfer tax exemption for any transfer of preserved farmland to a qualified beginning farmer will be available.
Funding for the dairy industry in the form of research and development, organic transition assistance, value-added processing, and marketing grants.
Center for Animal Agriculture Excellence funding to support the animal agriculture industry by expanding processing capacity, technical assistance, providing resources for food safety compliance, and assisting with the establishment of hemp as an approved animal feed.
A program to reimburse federal meat inspection costs and subsidize the first-time purchase of equipment needed for federal compliance to access to new and expanded markets for small or new producers will be established.
Agriculture linked investment program to re-establish this low interest loan program for the implementation of best management practices.
Resource enhancement and protection tax credits to increase the lifetime cap and increase availability.
Expansion of the allowable width for the use of implements of husbandry on roads, such as farm tractors and combines, from 16 feet to 18 feet.
Farm Bill amends the Ag Area Security Act to allow for subdivision of preserved farms.
Funding for agricultural and youth organizations.
Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to allow for a quick response to agricultural disasters, including utilizing animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, or providing an immediate response to a food borne illness.
Increasing market opportunities through funding of the PA Preferred Organic Initiative to make Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state, the PA Preferred Program to support the overall program and to bolster enrollment in the Homegrown by Heroes Program, and the State-level Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to invest in and encourage farming of high-priority horticultural crops like hemp, hops, and hardwoods.
There is a lot to take in with this bill, and we will see what the future brings in terms of implementation. In the meantime, more information can be found here:
Fall is one of the most popular times of year at Linvilla Orchards in Delaware County. The charming Halloween and fall decor, hay rides, food and activities are fun for the whole family (and school groups). The fresh produce, pies and apple cider donuts are particularly recommended.
Fantastic pumpkin carving is on display.
The decorative displays have a story book theme.
The colorful displays of pumpkins and gourds are very tempting.
Linvilla’s critters are out ready to welcome visitors.
Mascot Roller Mills in eastern Lancaster County is well worth a stop if you are in the area. The site of the well preserved water-powered grain mill welcomes visitors. More information can be found at resslermill.com. The William J. Morton Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to mill.
Elsewhere in Lancaster County, fall colors are on display …