The Lead

Ag Sec. Russell Redding’s nomination approved by state Senate committee

By: - May 9, 2023 3:17 pm

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding at the Senate Appropriations Hearing on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

Acting state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding’s nomination was approved by a state Senate committee on Tuesday, the first hurdle before a full Senate confirmation vote. 

Redding, who previously served in the role under former Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, received a “favorable” nomination from the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. 

Upon receiving the committee’s approval, members from both sides of the aisle gave Redding a standing ovation. 

“You have fully and well-represented agriculture,” the panel’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Judy Shwank, of Berks County, said of Redding. “You have earned the respect and they [farmers and agricultural producers] listen to your leadership.”

Under his eight-year tenure with the Wolf administration, Redding led efforts to create the first-ever state Farm Bill, bolster Pennsylvania’s agricultural workforce, support the mental health of farmers and agricultural producers, incorporate sustainable practices at farms across the commonwealth, make Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement self-sustaining, and to address food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic

“I’m proud of the work that we have done,” Redding told the committee. 

In a 2022 interview with the Capital-Star, Redding said he wanted the “farm and the AG community to be respected for all of the contributions that it makes to the daily work and improvement of our lives.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, who serves on the committee, called Redding a “rare find” and commended him for his professionalism and service to the Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture, led by Redding, has a requested allocation of $231.2 million in the Shapiro administration’s 2023-24 fiscal year budget proposal. 

Defending the request to state lawmakers in March, Redding said that the proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, would prioritize funding for organic farming, access to Pennsylvania produce, and combating avian flu.

Acting Ag Sec. Redding faces questions about organics, dog law, avian flu at budget talks

Redding told the committee Tuesday that workforce issues, economic development, and permitting and resources for rural communities are “critical” goals of the department under the Shapiro administration. 

Redding’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.