Harrisburg, PA - Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture held the inaugural meeting of Pennsylvania’s Ag Business Development Center advisory committee. The center was signed into law as part of the first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill by Governor Tom Wolf in July.
“Over the past several years, we’ve worked hard to define Pennsylvania agriculture. We’ve found that it’s much broader than we thought: it’s urban and rural, it’s science and tech, animal health and production,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Lastly, we’ve found that all of agriculture is a business that needs our support to continue powering Pennsylvania forward.”
The Ag Business Development Center is funded at $2 million and aims to provide farmers and prospective farmers resources for:
- Creating business plans and management strategies to enhance economic viability;
- Creating plans for the transition of ownership and operation of a farm to new owners and operators;
- Creating plans for the transfer or ownership and operation of a farm;
- Assistance with diversification to reach new markets and increase profitability; and
- Assistance with expansion.
The 12-person committee is made up of public and private sector members including Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding; Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin; Dr. Richard Roush, Dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences; Dwight Rohrer, PA Bankers Association; Crystal Standish, Farm Credit Association; Paul Semmel, PA Association of Conservation Districts; Dr. David Wolfgang, Pennsylvania veterinarian; Chris Sigmund, certified in nutrient management plans, TeamAg; Jennifer Denchak Wetzel, esquire at Mette, Evans, & Woodside; Morgan Livingston, Greater Washington County Food Bank farm manager; and a financial planner.
“The Ag Business Development Center will help Pennsylvania’s agribusinesses thrive by providing the resources and supports they will need both now and in the future,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “Agriculture is a leading industry in our commonwealth with an economic impact that is nearly unrivaled, and it is critical that we ensure its continued strength for generations to come.”
This committee is responsible for identifying and building teams of planning facilitators, accountants, financial planners, lenders, marketers, conservation and nutrient management planners, and veterinarians who can provide expertise to the industry.
“Being in the business of agriculture requires a long view,” added Redding. “The Wolf Administration is committed to facilitating a bright future for the industry that feeds and sustains us.”
The Ag Business Development Center is just one way the business needs of agriculture are addressed through Governor Wolf’s PA Farm Bill. For more information about the PA Farm Bill and investments to support Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov or follow the department on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717-783-2628
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