Hershey, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today joined Hershey Company President and CEO Michele Buck, Walmart Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies, and other industry and public officials to celebrate the thriving food manufacturing industry in Pennsylvania. The group toured the West Hershey plant that supplies Hershey’s chocolate made with milk from Pennsylvania dairy farms to Walmart stores nationwide.
The Wolf Administration joined both companies in expressing their commitment to strategic growth and retaining jobs in a thriving sector of the state’s $135.7 billion agriculture and food industry.
“The Hershey Company clearly demonstrates that Pennsylvania is a great place to do business, with convenient access to top-quality ingredients like the milk produced in our dairies and to markets here and around the world through partners like Walmart,” Redding said. “Pennsylvania is continuing to invest directly in the food manufacturing jobs, the family farms, and the retail markets that work together to supply quality products consumers demand.”
Pennsylvania ranks number one nationally in sales of sugar and confectionary products, with exports valued at more than $623 million. Cocoa and chocolate confections are the state’s top food export product. The Hershey Company is the only U.S. company that uses fluid milk in its milk chocolate. The company also uses powdered milk sourced and processed in Pennsylvania in its recently expanded Hazelton, Luzerne County plant.
The Wolf Administration is working with companies that specialize in dairy products, including Hershey and their supplier Land O’ Lakes, to expand and relocate their businesses in Pennsylvania. Through the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program, the first dairy-specific grant program of its kind, the state is offering $5 million for dairy farmers to transition to organic products, and research and develop new products made from milk. These programs build on the more than $50 million in agriculture-related economic development projects the administration has invested in over the past three years.
To address the agriculture and food industry’s expected 75,000 job openings over the next decade and maintain Pennsylvania’s competitive advantage, the administration has increased support for workforce development and agricultural education to help prepare students and workers to fill the positions needed by industry employers. for the thousands of anticipated job openings in the industry over the next decade.
Learn more about Pennsylvania’s strategic investments to grow the agriculture and food industry at agriculture.pa.gov.
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