Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania agriculture industry providing $ 132.5 billion to the Pennsylvania economy and the nation’s leading industry for production in many sectors, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Acting Secretary for Education Noe Ortega today highlighted the importance of cultivating the next generation of farmers by providing opportunities for children for hands-on farming experiences over the summer.
“Children are the future of the industry we all rely on for three meals a day and the clothes on our backs,” Redding said. “It is the responsibility of all of us to show them the value of agriculture and agriculture, to develop their interest in being part of this significant industry.
“Whether you take them to an on-farm dairy for an ice cream cone or talk about the origins of their favorite foods, with early guidance from caring adults, kids can explore a variety of career possibilities so they can enrich their childhood and position them for a prosperous future, ”added Redding.
Redding and Ortega were joined today by members of the Pennsylvania FFA and the Commission for Excellence in Agricultural Education at Farm Park at Paulus Farm Market. The Farm Park is a great destination for raising agriculture-savvy children with the opportunity to see and feed a wide variety of farm animals and seasonal activities such as picking flowers and pumpkins. After their visit to the farm, families can taste local agricultural products from the market or an ice cream cone.
“Every time I visit a farm, I learn something new about the farming industry,” Ortega said. “Farms provide learners of all ages with hands-on opportunities to explore our cutting-edge industry and connect with a variety of engaging and rewarding careers. “
Pennsylvania has long faced a looming farm labor shortage, at one point estimating a shortfall of 75,000 workers as farmers retire and new technological positions become available. Recognizing these manpower needs, the Wolf administration created a group of 15 members Commission for agricultural excellence – co-chaired by Secretary Redding and Acting Secretary Ortega – and has made significant investments in the future of the industry through Pennsylvania Farm Bill programs such as the Farm Subsidy Program and Youth, Farm to School Program, and Farm Vitality Grants Program.
Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry supports the state’s economy to the tune of $ 132.5 billion and provides more than 593,000 jobs that bring in $ 33 billion in wages annually. The number of jobs in the industry has increased by 2.4% since 2018. To ensure the prosperity of the industry and the availability, accessibility and price of food, we must train a new generation of farmers.
Parents and caregivers are encouraged to seek opportunities for hands-on farming experiences over the summer to foster an early appreciation of this vital industry. Careers in agriculture provide opportunities in science, technology, engineering, management and traditional agriculture. It is meaningful work that both nourishes the soul and provides for the needs of families.
“Our children are our future – they are our future farmers, statisticians, engineers, veterinarians, scientists and leaders,” said Laura Fridirici, PDE special consultant to the career secretary. “Hands-on learning opportunities, like the ones you can find at Paulus Farm, build employability skills, develop awareness of industries such as agriculture, and create opportunities for children to see and even start planning their future careers. “
Opportunities to consider this summer include:
“Paulus Farm Park is constantly evolving and strives to be an authentic, practical and fun farming experience for all ages, with opportunities to explore the gardens and connect with the animals,” said Amy Paulus. “We created the Farm Park to allow the children to have a healthy and simple day on a real working farm.”
Learn more about the Pennsylvania agriculture industry in the 2021 Economic Impact Report opens in a new window, and explore opportunities to involve children in agriculture by visiting agriculture.pa.gov/kidsarethefuture.
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