HARRISBURG – Visitors to the 93rd Pennsylvania Farm Show learned first-hand how our state’s agriculture industry is “Keeping Pennsylvania Growing.” The eight-day show wrapped up on Saturday, Jan. 17 in Harrisburg.
“This year’s show was a true celebration of Pennsylvania agriculture and its importance to the Commonwealth and our citizens,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. “Agriculture is our state’s leading economic driver, and each year, the Farm Show is a tribute to that fact. This year’s show was no exception, drawing people from all over the state to celebrate our number one industry. We look forward to 2009 as another successful year for our farms, families and rural communities.”
Governor Edward G. Rendell made a landmark announcement at the show, sharing that Pennsylvania has met the first in-state production threshold triggering mandatory biofuel use. Within one year, all on-road diesel fuel sold in Pennsylvania will include two percent biodiesel, which will benefit Pennsylvania farmers and biofuel producers as new markets are opened for their products.
Show visitors saw how alternative and renewable energy efforts are being explored by Pennsylvania companies to match this mandate in the energy exhibit at the show.
In line with the energy theme, the annual butter sculpture that paid tribute to the Pennsylvania National Guard will be made into biodiesel by Lake Erie Biofuels. The company will turn the 900 pounds of butter into nearly 100 gallons of fuel and plans to donate the fuel back to the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Favorite events included a variety of celebrity contests where local celebrities competed against one another in activities such as cow milking, team cattle penning and cook-offs.
As always, youth took center stage during the show as 23 students received $3,750 Farm Show Foundation Scholarships. More than 30 young people also participated in the first-ever “Farm Show’s Got Talent” contest with 16-year-old musician and composer Alex Peffer of York County “stealing the show.”
A contestant from the talent contest, Coston Cross, performed in the closing ceremonies of the show on Saturday, Jan. 17 that also recognized Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll who passed away last fall. The program also celebrated the people who participated and exhibited throughout the week, as well as the volunteers and Farm Show staff that helped make the show a success.
Despite inclement weather forecasts for the first two days, crowds still flocked to the Farm Show, enjoying the food and fun that the agriculture industry provides.
The Food Court offered a wide range of delicious options, featuring Pennsylvania food growers’ local products. As of Saturday morning, the commodity organizations estimated the following products were sold/consumed:
• Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers sold 15,000 dozen doughnuts, served 35,000 servings of French fries, 25,000 servings baked potatoes, 6,000 servings of sweet potatoes, and used 400 gallons of ketchup, 5,000 pounds of shortening, 3,500 pounds of frying oil and 1,200 pounds of butter.
• Pennsylvania Fruit Growers sold 8,000 apple dumplings, 2,675 gallons of cider and 20 bushels of apples.
• Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association used 13,000 gallons of milkshake mix and more than two tons of Mozzarella cheese.
• Pennsylvania Livestock Association sold more than 32,000 barbeque, roast beef, ham and cheese sandwiches, 2,800 cups of stew and 600 steak salads.
• PennAg Industries used 37,000 rolls for their chicken and pork sandwiches and sold 3,000 whoopie pies, 1,000 shoo-fly pies, and 300 dozen sticky buns.
• Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association used 5,000 pounds of onions and 260 cases of vegetables, and sold 6,000 bowls of soup, 2,000 pickles and 5,000 strawberry surprise drinks.
• Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Association sold 1,800 egg & cheese sandwiches.
For a complete list of show results visit the Farm Show Web site at www.farmshow.state.pa.us
and click on “Show Results.”