Begin Main Content Area

Pennsylvania Agriculture: PA's Leading Economic Enterprise

Leading the Nation...

As a worldwide leader in agricultural, food and lumber production, Pennsylvania has much to offer.  Indeed, Pennsylvania has Products for the Planet.  In 2000, Pennsylvania set an all-time high for agricultural, food, and wood products, with more than $1 billion in exports due in part to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's marketing programs designed to promote and provide agribusinesses the opportunity to foster business relationships throughout the world.

Pennsylvania is known as the "Snack Food Capital of the World."  With major producers of pretzels, potato chips, confectioneries, and chocolate, Pennsylvania's snack food and confectionery industries generate more than $5.1 billion in sales annually.  Pennsylvania is also the international headquarters for Hershey Foods Corporation and H. J. Heinz.

When it comes to food processing, Pennsylvania's 2,300 food-processing companies are number one among the 50 United States in the value of shipments of canned fruit and vegetable specialty products, chocolate and cocoa products, potato chips and pretzels.  Not only does Pennsylvania produce many products, we make them with pride and quality.  Pennsylvania leads the United States in mushroom production, with an annual production of more than 425 million pounds, valuing more than $330.7 million per year.

Forest products are a mainstay of Pennsylvania agriculture.  In fact, forests cover more than 60% of Pennsylvania's land, and are growing. Pennsylvania ranks number one among the 50 United States in the production of export grade hardwood.  Forest products are our second most exported product group, following only our food products. Nothing beats the outstanding quality and beauty of our black cherry, red maple, red oak, and sugar maple trees.  Pennsylvania's forest products account for nearly $700 million of the State's many exports.

The dairy industry in Pennsylvania produces in three main categories: ice cream and frozen desserts, butter and cheese, and fluid milk products.  The dairy products industry is one of Pennsylvania's fastest growing sectors because of the high quality and technical innovations on our many farms.

Pennsylvania is a manufacturer of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, as well as software, and technology to increase the effectiveness and quality of the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors.  Our biotechnology firms are leading the way in plant and animal genetics and embryonic research.

Pennsylvania's meat, poultry, and fish products generate more than $4.3 billion in sales annually.  Pennsylvania's cattle serve as prime breeding stock for several countries.  The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has placed a high priority on quality assurance for our plants and animals.  As one of the largest egg producing states, Pennsylvania has taken the lead in egg safety through the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (PEQAP).