Agriculture Number 1?

I’ve seen politicians, from both parties and from all regions of the state, throw around the claim that Agriculture is PA’s number one industry, most recently in the Governor’s Newsletter: As Pennsylvanias largest industry, agriculture contributes greatly to our states economic success and also our culture.”

No disrespect to farmers, but agriculture is nowhere near the largest industry in terms of jobs (22 out of 22) or in terms of contribution to the state’s GDP (19 out of 19); our landlords, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association would like to point out than manufacturing leads the way in GDP (see table below).

If any of our Policy Blog readers has an idea where the reference to Agriculture as the “Number one industry” originated, please let me know. My theory is that some time ago the General Assembly passed a bill to “honor farmers” that required all elected officials to always refer to agriculture as the number one industry.