Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Russell C. Redding
Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture

Category
Location
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Farm Credit Affiliation
AgChoice Farm Credit
Russell's Perspective

Russell C. Redding has extensive experience as a public servant, having spent more than 20 years serving Pennsylvania’s agricultural interests in both its capital of Harrisburg and in Washington, D.C.

Russell worked as Agriculture Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford, who served from 1991 – 1995. He has also served in Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture for 16 years, including two separate appointments as Secretary of Agriculture, first from 2009 – 2011, and more recently since 2015 after serving four years as Dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley University.

Well-respected for his leadership, Russell’s first stint as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture was marked by enhanced food safety efforts such as the Governor’s Food Safety Council, the expansion of the farmland preservation program, the environmental clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay, and the development of strong partnerships with the state’s charitable food system. Russell also continued to support the state’s branding program, PA Preferred™, and the centers for Dairy and Beef Excellence, which work to enhance producer profitability and educate consumers.

“Agriculture is at the intersection of some of the most important issues of our time – food, health, environment, and economic development. Having the opportunity to lead the agency and represent the industry responsible for a significant portion of our economy and major influence on the quality of life in our Commonwealth is an honor,” Russell says. “Every day I am amazed by the farm families and stakeholders and their ability to innovate, invest, and persevere. Seeing the positive impact they make to Pennsylvania’s economy, landscape, and future generations is inspiring. They never disappoint.”

Russell’s return to the department in 2015 has been marked by a focus on issues threatening the future viability of agriculture. He has convened stakeholders from the public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors to develop a strategic plan for the industry to position Pennsylvania for growth. He has proactively addressed avian influenza planning and response preparations and has worked to eradicate potentially devastating invasive pests, such as the Spotted Lanternfly. He launched a workforce development initiative to prepare students and adults for career pathways in agriculture – particularly in high-demand occupations over the next 10 years. And, he has promoted farm viability and opportunities in agriculture through the Farmer Veterans Coalition product branding program Homegrown by Heroes and worked to focus on farm transition planning.

“These are extraordinary times in agriculture and government, full of opportunities and challenges that will require all of us be engaged, constructive, and prepared to listen, learn, and lead. I believe that together we can do great things,” says Russell. “I see a future where elementary school students identify agriculture as their career pathway and society has the same relationship with the person that feeds them as they have with their doctor, minister, and mechanic – a relationship built on trust. I see a future full of promise for agriculture and remain optimistic about our ability to meet the multiple and growing needs of a growing society.”

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