2008-12-18 / Local & State

Pa. Ag Secretary In DC Talking To Farm Groups

By Mary Clare Jalonick ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff is here talking to food and farm groups, and he isn't shy about expressing an interest in the agriculture department's top job.

"I'm excited about the Obama administration and being a part of it in some way going forward,'' he said Thursday, between meetings with various interest groups around Washington. "I'm reaching out simply to establish contact and relationships with the many wonderful facets of agriculture.''

Wolff said he hasn't talked directly to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team but has spoken to others close to it.

He said his "passion in life'' has been production agriculture, and he is meeting this week with groups that lobby for corn, cattle and pork production, along with hunger groups.

Wolff has been thought to be a possibility for the post ever since Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell touted him for the job. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey has also pushed for Wolff to join Obama's cabinet.

Agriculture is Pennsylvania's biggest industry. The state ranks in the top five in production of 20 different commodities, including eggs, mushrooms and dairy.

Colorado Rep. Roger Salazar was also considered to be a top contender for the post, but that's now unlikely after he won a seat on the influential House Appropriations Committee this week.

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