PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE – A six point plan to strengthen Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry amid a changing marketplace was announced by Gov. Tom Wolf before more than 500 industry leaders at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ annual Ag Progress Days. The plan includes rebuilding and expanding the state’s infrastructure; strengthening the workforce to ensure the next generation is prepared to lead; removing unnecessary regulatory burdens and strengthening the state’s business climate; establishing business ownership succession plans on the farm and throughout the food system; and creating more processing capabilities. The sixth point in the plan is to make Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state. In 2016, Pennsylvania overtook Washington as the second leading state for organic sales in the U.S., producing and selling $660 million in certified organic commodities—more than double the amount sold in 2015. Additionally, the number of certified organic farms in the state increased 18% to 803 farms. Pennsylvania’s agriculture and food industries generate $135.7 billion in economic activity annually. The industries employ nearly 580,000 people and pay wages of nearly $27 billion.