Governor Shapiro and Secretary Redding Visit Dickinson College Farm, Highlight Governor’s Energy Plan & Proposed Budget Investments in Agriculture Innovation

The Governor's budget proposal makes critical investments in Pennsylvania's $132 billion agriculture industry, including over $10 million in agriculture innovation to support our farmers and help them use new technology.


Dickinson College Farm is leading Pennsylvania agriculture with an anaerobic digester that is turning manure into electricity – and the Governor’s energy plan encourages more investment in similar clean energy sources. 

Boiling Springs, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding toured Dickinson College Farm to highlight the Governor’s energy plan and his budget proposal that would support innovative agriculture advancements happening across the Commonwealth in Pennsylvania’s $132 billion agriculture industry that supports over 600,000 jobs.

Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry is critical to the Commonwealth’s economy – which is why the Governor’s Economic Development Strategy puts agriculture front and center in the conversation and his 2024-25 budget proposes $10.3 million in agriculture innovation to support and attract new businesses and continue Pennsylvania’s national legacy as an agricultural leader.

“Pennsylvania farmers know better than anyone how important it is to protect our planet and find sustainable ways to farm so we can continue our national legacy as an ag and energy leader. Dickinson College Farm is doing just that by taking a byproduct of dairy farming and producing clean, renewable energy,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “This is the kind of innovation we want to support in my Administration. That’s why we made a $200,000 investment to help Dickinson build their digester, and it’s why my new energy plan – that would cut costs for consumers, create jobs, and help us combat climate change – encourages more investment in similar clean energy sources. If we want to compete and succeed as a Commonwealth, then we have to invest in our farmers – and my energy plan and 2024-25 budget proposal will help us create real opportunity for our ag community.”   

Governor Shapiro's proposed Agriculture Innovation initiative would continue to support projects like those the Governor and Secretary Redding toured today by enabling the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to offer grants to farmers and other agriculture businesses to implement new agriculture technologies, conservation, and renewable energy innovations. Additionally, Governor Shapiro’s energy plan would encourage additional investment in clean energy sources like biogas digesters through the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS), which together with the Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER), will create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take real action to address carbon pollution.

"Innovation defines Pennsylvania agriculture, with farmers committed to land stewardship and feeding the world – investing in their future benefits us all,” said Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding. “The Governor’s proposed new Innovation Fund further supports our farm and food businesses, building on the state’s legacy as a partner in conservation. Dickinson is growing more than just crops – they're producing renewable energy, feeding neighbors in need, and nurturing future leaders to sustain our progress."

Dickinson College Farm is an 80-acre student-led farm that is leading innovation in Pennsylvania agriculture to shape the future of the industry and its workforce. During the tour, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Redding saw the farm's pioneering anaerobic digester and manure management project, a system that transforms farm and food wastes into a sustainable source of electricity and reduces water pollution to a local stream and the Chesapeake Bay.

As a result of a $200,000 investment made through the Cumberland County Conservation District and funded through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill signed by Governor Shapiro last year, Dickinson built their digester that turns manure into clean, renewable energy.

Governor Shapiro believes in investing in both agriculture innovation and clean energy sources – and that is why under his energy plan, Pennsylvania would get 50 percent of our energy from clean sources like the anaerobic digester on Dickinson College Farm by 2025 to cut costs for consumers, create jobs, and help us combat climate change.

“We're tremendously proud of this 80-acre, USDA Certified Organic Farm, which serves as a living laboratory where students can put into action concepts they learn in the classroom. Here, students in a wide variety of disciplines learn about renewable energy and sustainable agriculture through hands-on work study and volunteering opportunities,” said John Jones, President of Dickinson College. “At Dickinson, we always say sustainability is not just a buzzword – it's a core value and we approach it with creativity and a broad base of knowledge. The project that you see before you today exemplifies our innovative approach to solving complex issues that face us all. The bio digester project demonstrates real world solutions to manage waste, reduce climate emissions, create renewable energy, and protect local waterways – including the yellow breeches right next door and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. We're proud that this new technology will benefit dairy farmers across Pennsylvania and across the country.”

“Since 2008, Dickinson students and staff have built dozens of small anaerobic digesters for research projects while generating cooking fuel for our commercial kitchen and residences,” said Matt Steiman, Assistant Director of Dickinson College Farm and Energy Projects Director. “Our new farm scale digester is a project based on the same technology with the addition of specialized machines to convert biogas into electricity that powers the farm. It connects right into the utility grid, allowing us to combine the manure of 150 cows with two to three tons per day of food waste from Dickinson in our community. We're sharing the lessons learned from this working model with other farmers with the goal of replication around the region so that more farms can generate clean energy from their waste in their communities. I'm so grateful to local state and federal agency partners who helped with funding, design, and permitting.”

The Governor’s proposal, which has been introduced as House Bill 2310, establishes and funds the Agriculture Innovation program to support new solutions to complex agricultural and environmental challenges – and has earned broad bipartisan support in House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. 

“Agriculture plays a crucial role in Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness,” said Representative Thomas Kutz. “It is imperative that we support the farming community to preserve this way of life for a new generation of leaders to innovate and expand our footprint as a national leader. I am proud to represent a variety of businesses from all areas of the agricultural industry in the 87th District.”

Learn more about how the Governor’s budget will continue to build the future of American agriculture right here in Pennsylvania at

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