Today, we celebrate National Agriculture Day and the vital role agriculture plays in Pennsylvania and around the world. Agriculture has helped create jobs, grow business, and provide food, fuel and fiber for the United States and the world. The work of one farmer feeds 155 people, both domestically and abroad.
Pennsylvanians contribute greatly to the economic and cultural value of agriculture. Agriculture is the number one industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it has helped to strengthen our state. With over 62,000 farm families and almost 8 million acres of farmland in our state, agriculture contributes $68 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy. The Commonwealth is a key producer of dairy products, as well as crops such as mushrooms, apples, grapes, peaches, cut flowers, pumpkins and Christmas trees.
Even as we celebrate the bounty that Pennsylvania’s farmers provide our economy, I am concerned that 805 million people globally suffer from chronic hunger. The Director of National Intelligence has identified a link between food and nutrition insecurity to instability and insurgency in some developing countries. It is clear that food security around the world contributes to our national security here at home. That is why I am working with U.S. farmers, private sector agricultural firms, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, and American universities to reintroduce the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), a bipartisan bill that will help address this important problem.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I am proud to support Pennsylvania’s hard-working farmers, who play such an important role in supporting our economy and getting healthy, locally-grown food to our tables. I am committed to this time-honored tradition, and will fight to ensure Pennsylvania’s farmers continue to thrive.