The Opportunity

The agriculture sector sits at the nexus of the most critical conversations of our time regarding food supply; climate; energy; and human, animal, and environmental health. Simultaneously, agriculture contributes $132.5 billion in annual economic impact and supports 593,600 jobs across the Commonwealth, making it a significant asset and driver of economic growth in Pennsylvania.

Advanced Agriculture is a term used to describe three key, interrelated areas of development that are highly applicable to Pennsylvania agriculture that build upon our strongest opportunities and address some of our biggest threats. These key areas include:

1\ Agri-Tech

Transformative technologies like robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality have widespread applications across agricultural production and processing while addressing some of agriculture’s biggest challenges. Pennsylvania is well positioned to leverage existing in-state assets — like applying the power of the robotics, automation, and AI cluster in the southwest region of the state — toward solving real-world problems for farms, foresters, and other agricultural businesses in the Commonwealth.

2\ Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Indoor, high-tech farming operations maximize resource efficiency to support year-round production and present an opportunity for rapid development of novel, transformational technologies, given their controlled and stable environment. Pennsylvania already has long-held, demonstrated leadership in CEA with its more than 100-year-old mushroom industry, leading the country in both production volume and value of sales. Given this history and dense industry concentration, Pennsylvania is in a tremendous position to capitalize on CEA-targeted advancements, prove out new technologies, and expand local production of food and biopharma crops, while simultaneously capturing revenue from what is currently a heavily import-dependent market.

3\ Climate Smart & Organic Agriculture

“Climate smart” describes both biological and technology-enabled methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, and protecting soil health while contributing to a waste-to-value economy. Pennsylvania’s organic agriculture sector, in particular, has seen a surge in production acreage and sales over the last decade that far outpaces the national average, presenting the Commonwealth with a significant and timely opportunity to grow its global leadership in this area.

Pennsylvania Advanced Agriculture Cross-Sector Collaborative

Launched in April 2023, this statewide network brings together leaders from industry, government, organized labor, nonprofits, and academia to create the conditions for innovative, technological, and market-driven solutions that will bolster agriculture as a legacy industry in Pennsylvania’s economy while sustaining and creating jobs.

Ready to be involved? Or interested in learning more about our current priorities?

Contact Kelly Kundratic, Agriculture Policy Director at agriculture@teampa.com.

Agriculture Economic Impact Studies

In 2018, we released the “Pennsylvania Agriculture: A Look at the Economic Impact and Future Trends” report – a first-of-its-kind analysis that provided a state-level working definition of ‘agriculture’, quantified economic and workforce impacts, and outlined policy and industry recommendations for a thriving future.

The analysis was updated in 2021 to benchmark trends for industry subsectors, as well as examine the impact of programs from the Pennsylvania Farm Bill and the COVID-19 pandemic. This version of the report provided leaders with recommendations on critical next steps for economic recovery.

This type of third-party, nonpartisan data advances Pennsylvania’s economy by identifying high-growth economic opportunities for the state and informing long-term systems change. As such, we will continue to assess the economic impact of agriculture to benchmark industry progress and identify areas primed for public-private partnership.