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Pennsylvania Ag News Headlines
Importance of Ag Education, Workforce Development Underscored
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 05/14/2018

Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding traveled to northern Pennsylvania on the Planting the Seed Tour, an initiative by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to highlight the education and workforce opportunities available in agriculture. During the two-day visit, Sec. Redding discussed Governor Tom Wolf's commitment to agriculture and the importance of investing in industry education and workforce opportunities.

"The future of agriculture depends on having a strong workforce, and it is critical that we make strategic investments now," Sec. Redding said. "Through agriculture education, apprenticeships, and workforce development partnerships, we will ensure that the next generation of Pennsylvanians is trained for meaningful careers in agriculture, and that this thriving industry can continue to support our people, animals, and communities."

Agriculture is a $135 billion industry facing an aging workforce. Attrition, growing demand for certain products, and advancing technologies will result in a workforce deficit of nearly 75,000 over the next decade. The Planting the Seed Tour aims to engage and educate the next generation of agriculturalists about the opportunities available in Pennsylvania agriculture.

Yesterday, Remley Family Farm -- a farm operation in Tioga County with more than 20,000 hogs -- hosted the secretary for a tour and a discussion about the impact of the swine industry on Pennsylvania; Sec. Redding then imparted the importance of agriculture education to more than 100 FFA students from the Athens, Canton, Northeast Bradford, and Troy FFA chapters at the Bradford County FFA banquet.

The tour concluded today as Sec. Redding provided the keynote address to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Council, noting the economic impact of agriculture on the commonwealth and PDA's strategic recommendations for the industry's continued success. Those recommendations include: capitalizing on branding and marketing opportunities; expanding infrastructure, including processing and manufacturing capacity, broadband, and transportation; broadening workforce development and education opportunities; and diversifying products to strengthen markets and build resiliency.

Over the past three years, the Wolf Administration has invested more than $50 million in agriculture-related economic development projects; increased support for workforce development and agricultural education to help prepare students and workers for the thousands of anticipated job openings in the industry over the next decade; and signed historic legislation that has created new markets for farmers and lowered their tax burdens. The administration has also begun work to expand broadband access to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, creating jobs and improving infrastructure across the commonwealth, especially in rural communities.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's programs and services, or to read the state's Agriculture Economic Impact Study, visit the Department's website at www.agriculture.pa.gov.

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