HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Pennsylvania State University has been awarded $72,049 in state funds to create a special brewing program, state Rep. Scott Conklin announced.

“What this grant does, is it helps not only the students learn about the craft brewing, the best ingredients, the barley, the hops, but that assistance then goes further and it helps those who may be starting a craft brewery, or maybe someone that already has a craft brewery,” said Conklin.

Conklin (D-Centre) said the Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant program, part of the historic PA Farm Bill, would help grow support for the state’s strong brewing industry.

“Pennsylvania over the past, about 10 to 15 years has really accelerated its ability for small little businesses to promote their own craft brewing,” said Conklin. “These funds will help our state to continue to strengthen the industry and provide additional opportunities in the agriculture field.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant program was created to enhance the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program by establishing a state program for crops that are either not currently eligible for federal support, or that are designated as high-priority specialty crops.

“These block grants are used to help support and assist with the growth of high-priority crops, including those vital for craft beer production, such as hops, barley, rye and wheat,” said Conklin.

Projects funded by the grants are aimed toward enhancing the crops’ sustainability and competitiveness.

“This can help promote Pennsylvania further than the local communities,” said Conklin. “It can show that Pennsylvania brewers are serious about the product, we’re serious about helping out those individuals that want to get started as entrepreneurs, and we’re serious about making sure that individuals that are going to the University have a chance to get that hands-on experience.”

Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter