Russell C. Redding, dean of Delaware Valley College's School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, was recently awarded the Honorary Master Farmer title by the Pennsylvania-based Master Farmers Association. In presenting the award to Redding, Thomas Kelly, president of the Master Farmers Association, said: "This award recognizes your outstanding and dedicated service to agriculture with the spirit of a Master Farmer."
Redding was nominated for the award by Charles Brosius, a past Master Farmer and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture and Jim Hoover, secretary and past president of the association. In recognizing Redding, Brosius noted that Redding "didn't have much power in Washington, D.C., as he served as Ag Policy Advisor to then U.S. Senator Harris Wofford. But he sure knew those who did."
After returning to Pennsylvania, Redding worked his way up from Deputy Secretary of Agriculture to the Secretary's position. Brosius credited Russell Redding as a major influence for Pennsylvania having the largest farmland preservation program in the United States. Redding also originated what is now a national-scale Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite insurance program for agriculture.
Over his career, Redding went from milking cows on his family farm in Adams County to currently serving as Dean of DelVal's ag school. Among his many leadership positions, Redding chairs USDAs Biotechnology Advisory Committee for 21st Century Agriculture, and co-chairs the Chester County Economic Development Council Ag Partnership.
Upon receiving the award, Redding commented: "How many times in life can you advocate what you want to do, and then do it. But we have much more to do to move from a world population of 7 billion people to one with 9 billion. We have problems now feeding 7-billion mouths, think of the challenges of feeding 9-billion."
Redding is the ninth recipient of the Master Farmer honor since 1963. He and wife Nina reside at Aspers, Pa., with sons Garrison and Elliot.
The Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers Association is an organization of past recipients of the Master Farmer awards program sponsored by American Agriculturist magazine and the land-grant universities of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.