HARRISBURG, Pa. — Russell C. Redding of Adams County was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate as the state’s 24th secretary of agriculture.
Redding, most recently the department’s executive deputy secretary, has been a part of the department’s leadership team since 1995. He had been working in the capacity of acting secretary since the departure of Dennis Wolff in September.
As secretary, Redding oversees the department responsible for encouraging, promoting and protecting the state’s leading economic industry, agriculture, and its related industries.
The department also has regulatory authority over food safety, animal health and the state’s dog law, as well as inspection of weight and measurement devices and amusement rides.
Redding said the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has set a number of objectives for the coming months, and said he will focus on enhancing food safety by meeting the statutory mandate and through collaborative efforts such as the Governor’s Food Safety Council.
He also said it will be a priority to balance the needs of farmers and the public with the need for clean water in the Chesapeake Bay, and to strengthen the department’s connection to its sister agencies and related state and local partners.
Pennsylvania’s diverse agriculture industry includes more than 63,000 farms and 7.75 million acres of farmland. Agriculture contributes more than $45 billion in total economic impact to Pennsylvania, supplying one in seven jobs across the state.
Pennsylvania ranks among the top five states in organic product sales and is third in the nation for direct sales to consumers. The state’s dairy sector is the largest segment of agriculture, and Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in milk production.