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Kids are the future of agriculture

January 23, 2020 09:00 AM
By: Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding

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Just yesterday, or what feels like yesterday, we wrapped up the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show. We now find ourselves in the afterglow, reflecting on the accomplishment of hosting more than 500,000 visitors and thousands of exhibitors at Pennsylvania's annual state fair. This annual occurrence is an invaluable opportunity for children and adults to interact with growers, producers, and animals – a chance to imagine the opportunities in one of Pennsylvania's leading industries.

Did you know that Pennsylvania agriculture is a $135.7 BILLION industry? That it supports more than 580,000 jobs in the state? Or, that in the next ten years we will need 75,000 new pairs of hands to power the industry that feeds Pennsylvania?

A young girl milking a fake cow at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show.  

It's for these reasons that we used the 2020 Farm Show as a platform to highlight all that Pennsylvania agriculture is and why we need it to stay prevalent in the commonwealth (and it won't stay here just because we like to eat).

A young boy shoveling dirt at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show.Yes, agriculture is farming. But it's also so much more.

It's soil and conservation.

It's animal health.

It's butchers and batch-makers.

It's forestry and lumber.

Agriculture is science and technology.

It needs mechanics and truck drivers.

A young girl dressed as a chef and cooking at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show.Agriculture is the patchwork of Pennsylvania. And we need more of today's youth to realize the opportunity and potential that lives in agriculture to fuel its future.

At this year's Farm Show, a broad range of exhibits offered hands-on opportunities for all ages to try out tools and equipment, learn from experts about agribusiness needs, learn about what education foundation is necessary, and which ventures might be profitable and sustainable.

It was about teaching useful skills to inspire careers in agriculture. Early agriculture exposure and education is crucial, and there's no better place than the Farm Show to learn, grow, and imagine the opportunities.

If you didn't make it to this year's show, I hope to see you next year. I'm also hopeful that you'll consider how you can turn everyday scenarios into a lesson on the many ways agriculture touches our lives. To fuel the imagination of young minds, and power the future of Pennsylvania.

Learn more about planting the seed for a career in agriculture.

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