HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Today, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor-elect Josh Shapiro made a stop at the 2023 Farm Show. Shapiro joined agriculture officials and leaders from across the state to highlight the importance of the commonwealth’s agriculture industry. 

"I'll be a governor that makes ag a priority, that makes real investments, does big economic development deals here in our Commonwealth that are focused on our rural communities and on investing in ag,” said Shapiro. 

Shapiro discussed the important role Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, has played, and will continue to play. Earlier this week, Shapiro announced Redding will remain Secretary of Agriculture in his administration. 

Shapiro said he looks forward to prioritizing the needs of the ag industry as governor. 

“When I look at ag, I see the future of Pennsylvania, I see economic development, I see economic opportunity, I see job creation. I see revitalization of some of our rural communities that, for too long, have been left behind. I see one-in-ten Pennsylvania jobs, I see 60,000 farms across this commonwealth, I see $140 billion in economic impact, and per capita, that's number one in the nation,” said Shapiro. 

Specifically, he plans to prioritize a capital fund which would be set aside to help farmers who may need extra capital to take their next step. 

“I think we need a capital fund specifically set aside for our farmers, especially our small farmers who need that little extra capital to be able to take that next step,” said Shapiro. “We will get that done during my administration,” he added. 

Making sure farmers and rural areas are connected to the Internet is another big priority for the Governor-elect, who said he plans to strengthen the industry, and protect its future. 

“We need to make sure that our farmers are connected to the Internet. Broadband will be laid all across these communities. We cannot continue to have roughly 30% of our communities without access to high-speed Internet, it holds back our farmers, it holds back our ability to really prosper,” said Shapiro. “We have incredible opportunities with farm to table, you think about the restaurants just in Philly, in New York and Boston and other communities that are easily accessible. We need to make sure our farmers get their products to these tables, in these restaurants, in these areas. We can do that together,” he added. 

Both Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor-elect, Austin Davis, are set to be sworn in next Tuesday. Erie News Now will have live coverage throughout the day of the inauguration in Harrisburg.