Wolf Administration Tours State-Funded Bell & Evans Facility, Highlights Commitment to Pennsylvania Farmers
Fredericksburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding toured Bell & Evans facilities in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County and highlighted the Wolf Administration’s commitment to the Pennsylvania agriculture industry.
“Bell & Evans is a significant contributor to the local economy, both in the thousands of jobs it is creating and in the opportunity it is providing to dairy farmers to diversify their business by entering other markets like poultry farming,” Secretary Davin said. “The Wolf Administration is committed to helping both Pennsylvania’s business industry and its agricultural sector, and companies like Bell & Evans succeed in both of those areas.”
Secretary Davin and Secretary Redding toured Bell & Evans new hatchery facility followed by a tour of the company’s processing and packaging facility. In April of this year, Governor Wolf announced the state-funded expansion of Bell & Evans’ presence in Lebanon County, which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs over the next three years, and provides additional opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers looking for ways to diversify their operations.
“Over the past three years, the Wolf Administration has made critical, targeted investments in education, infrastructure, and the workforce pipeline, investments that have made a real difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians,” Secretary Redding said. “However, we know that in order to continue to provide opportunities, we must cultivate meaningful relationships with the commonwealth’s job creators, and our efforts have only been further bolstered by the commitment of industry leaders like Bell & Evans.”
“We are grateful to Governor Wolf, the Governor’s Action Team and the DCED for supporting our expansion project and promoting overall agriculture in Central Pennsylvania,” said Scott Sechler, president and owner of Bell & Evans. “Our growth will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs and benefit new farmers looking to diversify by adding broiler houses to their operations. It’s an exciting time!”
The Wolf Administration has taken several steps to support the agricultural industry in Pennsylvania, and the recent Bell & Evans expansion is just one that provides new opportunities to farmers. Over the past three years, the administration has invested more than $50 million in agriculture-related economic development projects; increased support for workforce development and agricultural education to help prepare students and workers for the thousands of anticipated job openings in the industry over the next decade; and signed historic legislation that has created new markets for farmers and lowered their tax burdens.
This summer, Governor Wolf unveiled his six-point plan for Pennsylvania agriculture, which provides recommendations and strategies based on the findings of the recently-conducted economic impact study of the industry. The plan will leverage targeted investments in the industry to provide Pennsylvania with the pipeline of skilled workers it needs to continue to produce high-quality products that are in-demand worldwide, further solidifying the commonwealth’s role in the global marketplace.
Pennsylvania agriculture is a $135 billion industry with tremendous opportunities, but one that is also facing several challenges, including an aging workforce. Attrition and advancing technologies will result in a workforce deficit of nearly 75,000 over the next decade. This year, the departments of Agriculture and Education created the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, a commission charged with assisting in the development of a statewide plan for agricultural education.
For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to supporting job creation and Pennsylvania farmers, visit the DCED website or the Department of Agriculture website, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Michael Gerber, DCED, 717.783.1132