HARRISBURG, Pa. — At the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera celebrated agricultural education during the state FFA’s Mid-Winter Convention with more than 5,000 FFA members and guests.
“As a former FFA student, I know firsthand the transformative power of the blue corduroy jacket,” Secretary Redding said. “The opportunities provided to me through the FFA, and in the show ring, are what framed who I am and being Secretary of Agriculture today.”
Today’s Mid-Winter Convention recognized the academic, leadership and field-based experiences of 405 Keystone Degree recipients, the highest honor earned at the state level. In addition, the Pennsylvania FFA Alumni Association awarded 420 first-year members their own official FFA jacket after completing a competitive application process.
“Today’s FFA members are tomorrow’s industry, and community leaders,” Secretary Rivera said. “Agriculture is among the top drivers of the Pennsylvania economy; and agriculture education opening doors to learners of all ages to explore a wide range of high-tech professions, and preparing students for college, career and community readiness.”
Over the next ten years, Pennsylvania agriculture will need 75,000 new pairs of hands to feed the community and the world. The youth gathered at the show today, and those throughout the commonwealth, are the future of the industry. In recognition of this looming workforce deficit and need for more opportunities like those available through the Pennsylvania FFA, Governor Tom Wolf included investments in agriculture education in his first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill signed in July 2019. Earlier today, $500,000 in Ag and Youth Grants was announced to provide improved access to hands-on agriculture education experiences.
The Pennsylvania FFA Association helps students develop their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Pennsylvania is home to nearly 13,000 members. For more information, visit http://www.paffa.org/.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 12,000 competitive exhibits, more than 5,200 of which are animal competitions, plus 300 commercial exhibitors. The show runs January 4 – 11, 2020. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from Interstates 81 and 83.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture