The northeast region’s “Results and Recommendations Roadshow” featured a collaboration of presentations from the Wayne Tomorrow Agriculture Committee, ACDS, LLC Consultant Philip Gottwals, PA Department of Agriculture, and Team Pennsylvania. The event was held at Ladore Conference Center in Waymart, PA on Tuesday, February 26.
Greg Hostetter, Deputy Secretary for Animal Health and Food Safety of the PA Department of Agriculture highlighted some of the programs within the recently proposed Pennsylvania Farm Bill and illuminated key concepts of the funding proposal that could directly impact the region’s plans for growth.
The Wayne County Agricultural Development Plan, developed by ACDS, LLC in partnership with the Wayne Tomorrow Agriculture Committee, Wayne Economic Development Corporation, and Wayne County Commission was released just a week prior to the roadshow event at Wayne County’s “Ag Day”. This event provided for an opportunity to share the plan with the broader regional economic development community, community leaders, and agricultural leaders from the seven counties in the northeast PREP region. The presentation which highlighted the plan specific for Wayne County, a county significant to the region’s agricultural base, added viewpoints of how a locally-driven plan for agricultural development aligns with the broader picture of the state’s initiatives.
Discussion focused on the commonalties between the five cornerstones of the Wayne County plan and PA’s six strategic recommendations from the state’s analysis. Further, the audience framed those themes towards specific sectors key to the region’s agriculture industry, including dairy, livestock, and forestry. Particularly interesting were the insights shared regarding the existing young agriculture entrepreneurs involved in the listening sessions to develop the Wayne County Ag Development Plan. The sentiment was that many young farmers in the region are interested in agriculture, but efforts to make those endeavors profitable for these entrepreneurs remains a key challenge to be addressed. Discussion included a call for private capital investment and infrastructure to further support entrepreneurial development, like efforts that lead to the creation of the Stourbridge Project in Honesdale, PA.
Wayne County has action plans in place to continue moving forward with their Agriculture Development Plan. Other counties within the region may find areas of collaboration with both the county and the state’s initiatives.
Tremendous thanks to our partners University of Scranton SBDC, Wayne Economic Development Corporation, and Wayne-Pike Workforce Alliance for their assistance in organizing this event.
Our next roadshow event will be Wednesday, May 1 at the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association Conference in Harrisburg. If you are interested in attending, please contact Kelly Kundratic at Kelly@TeamPA.com.