What’s happening in agriculture in our region? Who better to ask than Secretaries of Agriculture of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- Michael T. Scuse was reappointed by Governor John C. Carney as Delaware Secretary of Agriculture in January 2017.
- Joseph Bartenfelder was appointed Secretary of Agriculture for Maryland by then-Governor-elect Larry Hogan in 2014.
- Douglas Fisher was approved by Governor Jon S. Corzine on Feb. 10, 2019 as NJ Secretary of Agriculture
- Russell C. Redding is the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, having been nominated by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and confirmed in May 2015.
They spoke about past challenges, priorities, possible solutions and plans for 2023 at PSPA’s November 2, 2022 Zoom meeting. Watch the November 2, 2022 presentation here. About PSPA www.pspaonline.com
What do the Agriculture Secretaries say are some of the key programs in their states?
- For Delaware, agricultural land preservation (they’re #2 in the US) and the first integrated food system program in the US for small and medium farmers are notable.
- In Maryland, the equine industry is big: they have more horses per square mile than any other state. MD’s thriving poultry industry and programs to protect the Chesapeake watershed are also key.
- New Jersey, the Garden State, has a diversified ag economy; nursery plants are the #1 sector and fruits (peaches, blueberries, cranberries) rank high in the region.
- Pennsylvania is a livestock-dependent state, with the largest livestock market east of the Mississippi. Partnerships with Penn State and University of Pennsylvania’s Vet School are valuable resources.
Labor supply, health of the agriculture/food workforce, animal health and invasive insects and plants have been #1 challenges in 2022d, according to all of the Secretaries of Agriculture. H-2A visas for seasonal ag workers, water quality and the regulations that are a part of the policy, and increased focus on specialized training for trades that support agriculture and more continue to be problems in the region no matter what the crop in the state.
This year, the Secretaries talked more about these common problems and specifically how they have been collaborating and expect to collaborate more to find common solutions. The National Association of State Department of Agriculture of which all of the departments are members has been a place for policy discussion and action strategies to be developed.