UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Elected officials and leaders of government agencies will use the opportunity afforded by Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, set for Aug.13-15, to inform — and get feedback from — the public and industry stakeholders about agricultural programs and policy priorities at the state and federal levels.
The annual expo draws as many as 50,000 agricultural producers, consumers and families from around the state for displays, workshops, tours and demonstrations. A variety of planned events and exhibits will feature representatives from state and federal agencies, state legislators, at least one state cabinet secretary, a congressman and the governor of Pennsylvania.
— At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, Russell Redding, Pennsylvania secretary of agriculture, and Rick Roush, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, will host a “town hall” forum in the College Exhibits Building theater. They will discuss priority issues facing Pennsylvania agriculture, with a special focus on the invasive spotted lanternfly and on the provisions of the newly enacted Pennsylvania farm bill.
— At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, the Pennsylvania House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees will hold a joint informational meeting in the College Exhibits Building theater. The committee will discuss and hear testimony on issues affecting the state’s agricultural industry, including dangerous livestock disease threats and the importance of biosecurity and other efforts to keep our food supply secure.
— At noon Wednesday, Aug. 14, in the Ag Progress Days Special Events Building, Gov. Tom Wolf will join legislators, local officials and agricultural leaders for the annual Government and Industry Day luncheon. Wolf, Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Penn State Dean of Agricultural Sciences Rick Roush will speak at this invitation-only event.
— At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, in the College Exhibits Building theater, U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, will join other government officials and industry leaders for a public discussion on agricultural policy issues and the federal farm bill.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Building will house exhibits and presentations covering several state initiatives, including programs in animal and plant health, food assistance, food safety, farmland preservation, PA Preferred and urban farming.
Other state and federal agencies represented at the event with exhibits and staff will include the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; the state Department of Environmental Protection; the Pennsylvania Game Commission; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Farm Service Agency and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, located 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and the event also can be found on Facebook (@AgProgressDays).
–Chuck Gill, Penn State University