York Springs, PA - Bermudian Springs FFA students today showed off their knowledge and skills at an FFA Showcase in York Springs. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today joined the students as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) Planting the Seed Tour, which aims to engage and educate the next generation about the many education and career opportunities available in Pennsylvania agriculture.
“In Pennsylvania, the interest in agriculture education is growing. Schools like Bermudian Springs expose students to agriculture in a classroom setting with hands-on, real-world experiences, which only further builds student interest and future agriculturalists entering the workforce,” said Sec. Redding.
PDA joined the PA Association of Agriculture Educators, the PA FFA Organization, and Bermudian Springs School District at the showcase to highlight the work the students are doing in agriculture education. Across the state, Pennsylvania has more than 150 high school agriculture education programs, and FFA is one of the traditional agriculture programs provided at the secondary level that includes classroom instruction and supervised agriculture experiences.
During the event, Sec. Redding also presented a citation from Governor Tom Wolf declaring October 8-12, 2018 as Agriculture and Food Careers Week in Pennsylvania.
“The agriculture and food industry includes food production, food processing, and food distribution, as well as the forest and wood industry, horticulture, and animal health services,” said Sec. Redding. “With tens of thousands of new and replacement jobs anticipated in the agriculture and food industries over the next decade, it’s imperative that we provide Pennsylvanians with opportunities to engage in and experience the wide array of available agricultural occupations.”
Pennsylvania agriculture is a $135 billion industry with tremendous opportunities, but one that is also facing several challenges, including an aging workforce. Attrition and advancing technologies will result in a workforce deficit of nearly 75,000 over the next decade. This year, the departments of Agriculture and Education created the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, a commission charged with assisting in the development of a statewide plan for agricultural education.
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 is also working to expand broadband access to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians, creating jobs and improving infrastructure statewide, especially in rural communities.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s programs and services, or to learn more about the Planting the Seed initiative, visit agriculture.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628
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