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Pennsylvania Ag News Headlines
Western PA gets new animal health lab
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 04/01/2024

Spring has arrived in Pennsylvania, and a recent tour across the state highlighted the potential of western Pennsylvania. From fertile farmland to major transportation hubs, the region boasts a wealth of resources. Notably, Washington County ranks high in the state for farm numbers.

To ensure this agricultural strength continues to grow, Governor Shapiro proposes a $5 million investment in a western Pennsylvania animal health lab. This critical infrastructure will directly benefit local farmers by offering essential testing services closer to home.

Livestock pregnancy checks, avian influenza testing, and parasite detection are just a few examples of the lab's capabilities. Faster access to these services translates to quicker diagnoses, saving farmers time and money, especially during outbreaks like HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza).

The lab complements the existing Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS) with locations in Harrisburg, State College, and Kennett Square. This expansion fills a service gap for western PA's livestock and poultry producers, fostering collaboration and improved outcomes across the system.

The lab's presence will also benefit the equine community, with western PA housing two of the state's racetracks. Additionally, it can address concerns related to the region's large deer population.

Furthermore, the lab serves as a beacon for large animal veterinarians, highlighting opportunities for growth in western PA. This is particularly important given the existing shortage of veterinarians specializing in agricultural animals.

Investing in this lab strengthens biosecurity and preparedness for future outbreaks. A faster response minimizes risks for farmers, animals, and their businesses.

Governor Shapiro's budget prioritizes critical measures to safeguard Pennsylvania's agricultural future. Extending PADLS westward builds regional infrastructure, ensures food supply security, and promotes long-term farm sustainability.

Let's urge legislators to support this investment in a stronger future for Pennsylvania agriculture.

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