Secretary of Agriculture visits 150-year-old Centre County family farm

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — For over 150 years, a Centre County family has committed themselves to maintaining Hess Farm and producing beef and crops. The Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, paid a visit to the farm to honor the area’s heritage and share the Commonwealth’s commitment to the future of agriculture.

Redding said over the past several years, he’s been working on a plan for how to maintain local farms just like Hess.

“That became what we in the legislature, house, senate, republicans, democrats, governor, all came together, 16 different bills made up the Pennsylvania Farm Bill,” said Redding.

Across Pennsylvania’s 59,000 farms, Redding said it’s about investing in conservation.

“It’s $132 billion worth of economic activity every year,” said Redding. “It’s 590,000 jobs in the state, both direct and indirect.” 

Over the past three years, Redding said they’ve gathered over $50 million in new investments.

“It’s with the eye on the future that we know that the food that fuels Pennsylvania is critical, and the farms fuel Pennsylvania,” said Redding.

Hess Farm co-owners Jeff and Cindy Harding received a $7,500 PA Farm Bill Farm Vitality Grant, and said they will use that money to pass the farm on to their five children and future grandchildren.

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