“Agriculture is the number one indurstry in Pennsylvania, particularly when forestry is included,” said Rick Roush, Dean, College of Agricultural Science, PSU. “It’s a major employer, as is the food processing industry in Pennsylvania, so they’re really great opportunities in agriculture, and we export around the country and to the world.”
But now exporting to the world is a little tougher for PA farmers, given international tariffs on their products.
“Any tariff puts a suppression on opportunity and price, and price equals income,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding. “So the farms that are hoping to sell dairy products to mexico or move hard-wood products around the world, they have a more difficult time doing it.”
Which has both young and old at Ag-Progress Days concerned.
“I think there are tremendous amounts of people who have energy and enthusiasm for farming, however they’re not feeling that the small farmer is getting their fair share of the market. They feel things are not playing out in their favor.”
That’s Tyler Downing’s concern.
And those sentiments are trickling down to the next generation of possible farmers like James Deiter, Whose dad is a farmer. At the moment, James isn’t that interested in the family business.
“I don’t know if I’m gonna farm when I grow up. It’s expensive there’s a lot debt. You have to get in debt some.”
And while there’s not much power farmers have over the international market, Downing feels Pennsylvania’s should do their part to help.
“We should buy locally, I think we should eat healthily, and I think the way to do that is to eat right off our local farms, because I think they’re doing a good job,” said Downing.
This year’s Ag-Progress Days will run for three days, wrapping up on Thursday.
Tomorrow we’ll be present for remarks on Pennsylvania’s Agriculture from state officials including Senator Bob Casey.