|Washington, D.C., November 1, 2010—Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding is being honored with the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Local Heroes Award given by American Farmland Trust (AFT) in recognition of his outstanding efforts to further the mission of the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association by protecting the farms, natural resources and waters of the Commonwealth.
“The Adams County Agricultural Land Preservation Board selected their native son as the award recipient for the crucial role he played in creating the initial program in 1990 and in guiding it through its first five years. His good thinking, strong vision and passionate persistence shaped the program that has achieved an impressive record of protecting 139 farms and 18,260 acres in its 20 year history,” said Jim Baird, Mid-Atlantic States Director for American Farmland Trust.
Redding, an Adams County native, is deeply involved in production agriculture, having grown up on his family’s dairy farm in Gettysburg and later operating a dairy farm with his wife Nina. Redding holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agriculture and Extension Education from the Pennsylvania State University. He served Pennsylvanians for more than 20 years in Harrisburg and in Washington, D.C., as the agricultural policy advisor and executive assistant to former Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA), and as a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s executive staff.
Governor Rendell nominated Redding to serve as Secretary of Agriculture in September 2009, and he was confirmed by the state Senate in December 2009. He previously served as Executive Deputy Secretary for the Department.
“AFT has a long history of working with Pennsylvanians, as the state is a pioneer in the field of farmland preservation. This year, as AFT celebrates its 30th anniversary as the national leader in farmland protection and policy work, we wanted to celebrate the local heroes who make farmland protection possible,” says Jim Baird, Mid-Atlantic States Director for AFT.
“We want to celebrate the people who are the basis of our success in Pennsylvania: the farmers, landowners and citizens who contribute long hours, expertise and wisdom—and enormous economic investment to preserve their land from unplanned development while keeping the farmland and their communities healthy,” Baird continued.
The bi-annual award is given by AFT in conjunction with the meetings of the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association (PFPA), a non-profit, nonpartisan statewide association of conservation easement professionals dedicated to promoting and enhancing the interests of agricultural land preservation in Pennsylvania. PFPA provides technical training to develop skills and resources for the organization’s members, promotes standards among the farmland preservation sector, and provides comments on programs, regulations and legislation.
American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranch land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and supporting a sustainable future for farms. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT’s national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.