Acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding addressed the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, explaining how Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget would benefit agriculture and consumers and further the governor’s mission of jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works. Governor Wolf’s budget invests in resources to promote agricultural job training as well as resources to address consumer safety, industry protection and product promotion.
“My time at DelVal reinforced my belief that agriculture is a tremendous resource for Pennsylvania,” said Redding, while reflecting on his past four years as Dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College. “Governor Wolf shares that philosophy, not only in the sense that the industry provides food that sustains us all, but also that it offers extraordinary economic opportunities. We must cultivate this resource and Governor Wolf’s budget proposal does just that.”
Redding noted that the future of agriculture is not just dependent on the department’s allotted budget. The proposed state budget includes investments in education, training and development that will provide the human capital needed for the agriculture industry.
“Agriculture is a business – one that needs access to both human and financial capital,” Redding added. “To succeed, farmers need a skilled workforce and they need competitive financing that can leverage additional private capital. As a businessman, Governor Wolf understands that.”
Agriculture needs trained, skilled workers to propel the industry forward. The budget emphasizes educational institutions as pathways to economic development, where students are prepared to compete in the global economy. Proposed funding for the departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor and Industry, and Education provide those pathways for students to get them from the classroom to the agriculture workforce.
“The governor’s proposed budget would invest an additional $16 million into the department’s programs and initiatives, but we can’t view our budget strictly through the lens of agriculture,” Redding reiterated. “Governor Wolf has laid a clear picture of how each piece of the puzzle is interconnected. We have to look at the full picture, from various vantage points.
“That’s why it’s imperative that our department collaborates with our sister agencies to further our reach in local communities,” he continued. “The infusion of dollars proposed in this budget will provide direct benefits to consumers, which in turn will provide direct benefits to employers and consequently the economy throughout Pennsylvania.”