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First Lady Lori Shapiro and Agriculture Secretary Redding Celebrate National Farmworker Awareness Week at Quality Greenhouses

03/28/2024

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Dillsburg, PA – In recognition of National Farmworkers Awareness Week, First Lady Lori Shapiro and Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding visited Quality Greenhouses to meet with farmworkers and discuss their crucial role in Pennsylvania's agriculture industry.

National Farmworker Awareness Week is a time to recognize and honor the contributions of farmworkers who play an essential role in putting food on our tables and keeping our food supply chain running smoothly. Their work is vital, but often misunderstood, and this week serves to educate the public about their indispensable role and the challenges they face.

Agriculture is not only a critical economic engine for our Commonwealth, contributing $132.5 billion annually, but also one of the most technical industries. To ensure its continued growth, a skilled and knowledgeable workforce is essential. Partnering with H-2A, H-2B, and seasonal farmworker programs provides access to a vital pool of talent, bringing the necessary expertise to keep Pennsylvania agriculture thriving.

"At the Department of Agriculture, we're committed to supporting both the employers who rely on seasonal workers and the workers themselves, ensuring a successful and sustainable industry," Secretary Redding said. "I've stood in many fields and orchards across our Commonwealth, and the value of experienced workers cannot be overstated. Their knowledge and dedication are linchpins in realizing our aspirations for a resilient, sustainable, and prosperous agriculture industry."

Quality Greenhouses & Perennial Farm is a wholesale grower of annual and perennial plants. Quality employs more than 230 staff, two-thirds of whom are seasonal and guest workers that assist in the care and growth of plants sold to independent garden centers across the mid-Atlantic region. Pansies and hellebores kick off the busy spring season that peaks around Mother's Day when colorful annuals and perennials are ready for sale.

"In addition to our knowledgeable full-time staff, finding and hiring seasonal employees is critical for Quality's ability to have beautiful plants for sale and to be able to deliver them to our customers in an efficient manner," said Brett Lebo, President of Quality Greenhouses.

"The Commonwealth is proud to recognize the invaluable contributions of agriculture farmworkers," First Lady Shapiro said. "They are the backbone of our agricultural industry, working tirelessly to ensure our farms thrive and our families have access to fresh, nutritious food. We will continue working to deliver the resources and support Pennsylvania's agriculture community needs to keep innovating and prospering."

The Department of Agriculture is celebrating farmworkers across the Commonwealth. At an event in Aspers, PA, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Graybeal and Central Regional Director and Special Assistant for Workforce Development Sara Gligora met with farmworkers at the Adams County Nursery to learn more about their work preparing for the coming growing season.

Photos and video of the events will be at PAcast.com and in the PA Department of Agriculture's Flickr photo gallery.

Learn more about Pennsylvania's workforce and how the Department is working to grow the most in-demand occupations in our industries by visiting agriculture.pa.gov/workforce.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Losiewicz – 717-908-6228, jlosiewicz@pa.gov

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