HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pa. Gov. Edward G. Rendell is nominating Russell Redding of Adams County as the new Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture secretary, following the resignation of Dennis Wolff, which is effective Sept. 12.
Wolff of Millville, Columbia County, was appointed secretary of agriculture by Rendell and confirmed in 2003. He is a dairy farmer and owns Pen-Col Farms, a 600-acre registered Holstein dairy cattle operation.
In a note to department staffers Aug. 28, Wolff said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities in the private sector to “help shape public policy in agriculture statewide and nationally.”
He currently serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders and Penn State University board of trustees.
Recognized as a Master Farmer in 1994, Wolff has been mentioned on several “short lists” for ag-related positions in Washington ever since President Barack Obama was elected last November, most recently for the top food safety post at the USDA.
He is an appointed member of the Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee to the World Trade Organization and is a past president of the Northeast Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
Rendell lauded Wolff for his role in strengthening the state’s food safety system and opening new markets to Pennsylvania’s producers. At Rendell’s direction, Wolff worked to launch a number of initiatives such as the PA Preferred program, and the centers of beef and dairy excellence.
He also led efforts to enact the Agricultural Communities and Rural Environments initiative, or ACRE, that helps protect farmers against illegal and burdensome local ordinances.
Redding has served the department since April 1995, when he served as a deputy secretary.
In 2003, he was named executive deputy secretary and assumed the day-to-day operational and administrative oversight responsibilities for the entire department.
His nomination as secretary is subject to Senate confirmation.
Prior to joining the department, Redding served as an agricultural policy adviser and executive assistant to U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford.
Redding serves on the Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program’s advisory board, on the Gettysburg Hospital board of directors, and is a member of the Penn State University’s Agri-Food Advisory Committee. He was recently recognized by the Pennsylvania FFA for more than 30 years of service to the agricultural education organization.
Redding, his wife Nina, and sons Garrison and Elliot are also active in the Upper Adams 4-H Club.