If you want to get Democrats and Republicans on the same page in August, take them to Ag Progress Days.
Every year, Penn State’s celebration of all things agricultural takes place at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center. It’s a fancy name that sounds very scientific, like it should be a glass and chrome building full of people in lab coats in front of test tubes and computer screens.
It’s not. It’s a get-your-hands-dirty, real-world lab — a Penn State-owned farm where things get planted and nurtured and harvested.
And every year, politicians from Pennsylvania find their way there to talk about one of the state’s primary industries.
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At Wednesday’s Government and Industry Day Luncheon, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture — and Penn State trustee — Russell Redding talked about the symbiotic relationship between the state and its land-grant university when it comes to the topic, saying it was easy for people to put the emphasis on agriculture and forget about the progress.
But he lauded Penn State President Eric Barron for making agriculture a big part of his push for entrepreneurship and innovation.
“These are extraordinary times in agriculture, full of free opportunities and really tough challenges,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, encouraging the crowd to “take advantage of the vibrant opportunities our agriculture sector presents us.”
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard, also spotlighted the importance of not just farming but other work done at Penn State that supports the industry.
“What’s amazing here is all the innovation, all the technology that’s happening,” he said. “It’s all helping farmers to produce more, to run more efficiently, and at the end of the day, it’s helping family farms make more money.”
Wolf echoed that sentiment.
“There’s no better business in Pennsylvania than the family farm,” he said.