Penn's vet school - vital for many farmers - faces a $30 million cut

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 18, 2017 1:39 PM

(Harrisburg) -- A program that assists farmers is facing an uncertain future.

State budget proposals call for cutting funding for PennVet.

Jonathan Martin runs Wheatland Dairy in Narvon, Lancaster County.

He's got a small dairy operation -- about 70 cows.

So last summer, when nearly every single one of them developed what's called milk fever, he was in panic mode.

But then with the help of PennVet - the state's only veterinary school - he was able to save his cows, and stabilize his operation.

However, Governor Tom Wolf and House Republicans have both proposed budgets that cut $30 million from the PennVet program.

"When I think about this, about pulling funding from the university, it scares me in the long run for agriculture in Pennsyvlania, I mean, the emphasis on agriculture, if they start pulling from agriculture, what's the future of agriculture in Pennsylvania?" says Martin.

"Pay attention to what's happening in agriculture, because it is the backbone of America. You would want to disagree with it, but it's still the backbone of America," he adds.

Martin says his cows are healthier and more productive as a result of PennVet's help.

A spokesman for Gov. Wolf says he has great respect for PennVet's mission, but has to make cuts to balance the state's budget.

A House Republican spokesman says he's hopeful UPenn could come up with money to keep the program running.

Both spokespeople point out that the state offers funding for other veterinary programs in Pennsylvania, including the Pennsylvania Veterinary Lab, the Animal Diagnostic Lab, and the New Bolton Center.

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