Friday, August 28, 2009

Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff Resigns, Governor Nominates Russell Redding

Gov. Rendell announced today he will nominate Russell Redding of Adams County as the new Department of Agriculture secretary following the resignation of Dennis Wolff, which is effective September 12.
"Denny Wolff has worked hard over the last six and a half years to ensure Pennsylvania's farmers have the resources they need to expand their business and ensure the state's number one industry continues growing," said Gov. Rendell. "He's worked effectively to implement my plan to ensure more farmers have ready access to affordable financing and the resources and guidance they need to expand, diversify or transition their operation. He's also played a pivotal role in strengthening our food safety system and opening new markets to Pennsylvania's producers."
At Gov. Rendell's direction, Secretary Wolff worked to launch a number of important initiatives such as the PA Preferred program, and the centers of beef and dairy excellence, which help farmers in those industries improve profitability. He also led efforts to improve Pennsylvania's food safety oversight and enact the Agricultural Communities and Rural Environments initiative, or ACRE, that helps protect farmers against illegal and burdensome local ordinances.
"I thank him for his service to the commonwealth and wish him the best in his future endeavors," the Governor added.
Redding has served the department since April 1995, when he served as a deputy secretary. In 2003, he was named executive deputy secretary and assumed the day-to-day operational and administrative oversight responsibilities for the entire department.
His nomination as secretary is subject to Senate confirmation.
"Russell is one of the most respected individuals in Pennsylvania agriculture today," said the Governor. "From his days growing up in Gettysburg, he has been actively engaged in the agricultural community. In his professional career, he has proven himself to be incredibly knowledgeable and capable on all matters of agricultural policy at the state and federal levels.
"Under my administration, he has been an invaluable asset as his insight and counsel is highly regarded. There are a number of challenges facing our agricultural industry today and there are important issues before the department. From helping our producers navigate and survive a difficult economic climate, to improving our state's food safety system, enacting Pennsylvania's greatly improved Dog Law, and strengthening our conservation and stewardship practices, I am confident that Russell is the right person for this position."
Prior to joining the department, Redding served as an agricultural policy advisor and executive assistant to U.S. Senator Harris Wofford.
Redding serves on the Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program's advisory board, on the Gettysburg Hospital board of directors, and is a member of the Penn State University's Agri-Food Advisory Committee. He was recently recognized by the Pennsylvania FFA for more than 30 years of service to the agricultural education organization.

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