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Public-private ag board to tackle economic development in Pa.Panel includes broad cross-section of business interests

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Removing barriers to growth in the state's food and fiber sectors is the goal of a new public-private agricultural board that met for the first time on Monday.

The 25-member panel arose from a partnership established last year between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Team Pennsylvania.

Executives on the board represent elements of the industry from the field to the point of retail sale, including seed sellers, farmers, port officials and a major supermarket chain.

Team Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is a non-partisan, nonprofit group created in 1997 to forge closer links between the public and private sectors.

Among the ag board's initial priorities is identifying needs and opportunities to develop a trained workforce that can fill an estimated 75,000 expected vacancies in the food and fiber industries by 2025.

"These are extraordinary times in agriculture — full of opportunities and challenges," state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. "But as we seek to capitalize on those opportunities and mitigate those challenges, we must be mindful that we are in the midst of a changing landscape."

The board also will address the agriculture department’s ongoing work to develop a 10-year strategic plan for the industry, as well as assessing inhibitors to growth and reviewing economic development practices and strategies in other states.

Redding will serve as co-chairman of the new advisory board, along with Scott Sechler, who is the chairman and president of poultry processing company Bell and Evans, which is a major employer in Lebanon County.

Sechler also serves on the board of directors for the Team Pennsylvania Foundation.

Board members

The complete list of members is:

  • Jim Adams, CEO and chief marketing officer, Wenger Feeds
  • Bill Beam, owner, Beam Farms
  • Mike Brownback, farmer, Spiral Path Farms
  • Mike Brubaker, CEO and chief marketing officer, Blackford Ventures
  • Tom Clemens, senior vice president, Hatfield Quality Meats
  • Darrell Curtis, president and CEO, AgChoice Farm Credit
  • Taylor Doebler, president, TA Seeds
  • Calvin Ernst, president, Ernst Seeds
  • Daniel Eichenlaub, president, Eichenlaub Landscaping
  • Joe Fox, marketing representative, Port of Philadelphia
  • Chad Geise, president, Furmano Foods
  • Scott Hauseman, senior vice president, Agricultural Financial Services, Fulton Bank
  • Don Hoover, president, Binkley and Hurst
  • Peter Hughes, president, Red Barn Consulting
  • David Jaindl, owner and president, Jaindl Companies
  • Mike John, COO, Milk Marketing, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association
  • David Masser, president, Sterman Masser
  • Mario Mazza, general manager and vice president, Mazza Vineyards
  • John McDonald, director of marketing and planning, Ahold USA
  • Alan Novak, President and Founder, Novak Strategic Advisors
  • Mike Peachey, partner, Ag and Agribusiness Services, Acuity Advisors and CPAs
  • Chris Pierce, president, Heritage Poultry Management Services Inc.
  • John Rice, vice president, R&L Orchards
  • Scott Sechler, chairman and president, Bell and Evans
  • Gary Smith, president and CEO, Chester County Economic Development Council

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Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis

Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at rdupuis@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @rogerdupuis2.

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