Pennsylvania’s reputable agribusiness industry represents more than two centuries of heritage and quality and is a leading economic driver across the state, producing quality products — like food and hardwoods — from farm to table and forest to factory. High-quality soil, crop diversity, strong university partnerships, and farming tradition paired with strategic location and comprehensive infrastructure and logistics systems make our state an ideal location for agribusiness-focused companies.

Food Processing

Pennsylvania leads the nation in food-processing companies, with more than 2,300 operating across the state. The strength of the food-processing sector supports Pennsylvania’s leading-state status in the value of shipments of canned fruit and vegetable specialty products, chocolate and cocoa products, potato chips, and pretzels. Our dairy industry ranks second in the country in butter production, and in the top 10 in cheese and milk production.

Hardwoods and Paper Products

Pennsylvania lives up to its name with a hardwoods and forestry industry that’s known for its quality and sustainability. We have the largest hardwood forest in the United States, with 119 billion board feet standing saw timber in 2015 — more than five times the forest resource in the state more than 60 years ago — and we grow more than 10 percent of the nation’s Christmas trees. The forestry, logging, and lumber, paper, and secondary wood products industries employ nearly 66,000 workers across the state.

Workforce & Education

The agribusiness industry’s workforce has deep roots in Pennsylvania. With 579,000 employees, the agribusiness industry accounts for 10% of employment in the state, including nearly 66,000 employees in the forestry, logging, and lumber, paper, and secondary wood products industries.

A key component of Pennsylvania’s agribusiness community is its nearly 300 universities and more than 168,000 annual graduates. Our network of schools across the state build our talent pool, work closely with companies to develop new techniques and manufacturing practices, and provide critical research and development capabilities to constantly improve our agribusiness industries.

Penn State Extension

The Penn State Extension is an educational network offering Pennsylvanians access to the Penn State University's resources and expertise. The Extension is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and county governments. Through this county-based partnership, Penn State Extension educators, faculty, and local volunteers work together to share research-based information with residents. The Extension offers several courses and workshops to assist agricultural businesses, from “Crop Insurance Education” to “Social Media and Mobile Technology for Agricultural Businesses.”

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

The School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) was founded in 1884, and has a longstanding tradition as a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Penn Vet’s Center for Animal Health and Productivity serves the agricultural community by developing innovative animal management tools and strategies for promoting economic efficiency and environmental sustainability. Penn Vet is a member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Companies in PA

Domestic and international companies alike have reaped the benefits of Pennsylvania’s diverse, global economy. Our established manufacturing base, abundant natural resources, world-class universities, and strategic location close to four of the top 10 U.S. markets have resulted in a truly attractive location for businesses.

Companies large and small — including General Electric, Tyco Electronics, PECO Energy Power Company, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, Shell, Exelon Generation Company LLC, and many more — have found a place in our business community.

Top 6 Agricultural and Food Production Employers

  • Hershey Foods Corporation

    Hershey Foods Corporation (the Hershey Company) is a leading North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionaries headquartered in Hershey, PA.

  • Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc

    Bimbo Bakeries USA is a national leader in baked goods and focuses on providing high-quality breads and sweet baked goods.

  • Hatfield Quality Meats Inc

    Hatfield Quality Meats has specialized in producing pork products for over 110 years using innovative techniques to ensure freshness and quality.

  • UTZ Quality Foods Inc

    UTZ Quality Foods is a third-generation family-owned company producing potato chips and other snack foods in Hanover, PA.

  • Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation

    Cargill Meat Solutions is the umbrella organization of Cargill’s North American beef, turkey, foodservice, and food distribution services.

  • JBS Souderton Inc

    JBS is a leading processor of beef, pork, and lamb in the United States, and the largest cattle feeder in the world.

Top 6 Wood, Wood Products, and Publishing Employers

  • The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Co.

    Procter & Gamble Paper Products is a manufacturer of paper, health care, and hygiene products including toilet tissue, paper towels, and facial tissues.

  • Jeld-Wen Inc

    Jeld-Wen Inc is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of doors and windows and is recognized for their energy-efficient products.

  • Wood Mode Inc

    Wood-Mode Inc manufactures custom-crafted wooden cabinetry.

  • Barnes & Noble Booksellers USA

    Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the United States, and a leading retailer of content, digital media, and educational products.

  • Trib Total Media Inc

    Trib Total Media delivers news, information, and advertising in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

  • PH Glatfelter Company

    PH Glatfelter is a global supplier and leading manufacturer of quality printing papers, specialty papers, and engineered and composite fibers.

Resources & Incentives

First Industries Fund

The First Industries Fund (FIF) is a program aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania’s agriculture and tourism industries through loans and loan guarantees. These can be used for land and building acquisition and construction, machinery and equipment purchases and upgrades, and more.

Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA)

PIDA provides low-interest loans and lines of credit for eligible businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs and for the development of industrial parks and multi-tenant facilities. Eligible uses include land and building acquisitions; machinery purchases; industrial park projects, and more.


Since 2005, the Department of Agriculture’s PAgrows program has provided technical assistance to farmers and agribusinesses seeking capital for their operations. The program provides cost sharing funding to assist producers in organic agriculture and those completing the voluntary good agricultural and good handling food safety audits and specializes in helping farmers, food processors, farmers market operators, and other agricultural businesses navigate the lending and funding process.

It also operates the Next Generation Farmer Loan program, along with DCED.

PA Preferred Program

PA PreferredIn 2004, the PA Dept. of Agriculture introduced the PA Preferred program, and in 2011, the program was permanently established as the official brand of agricultural products made or grown in Pennsylvania. PA Preferred is a public-private partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and many companies throughout the state. The program is currently working with thousands of companies and stores to support and promote Pennsylvania products. When buying products identified by the PA Preferred logo, consumers are supporting local farms and producers and helping keep farmers and food processing jobs in Pennsylvania.