HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff recognized five Pennsylvania organizations for their efforts in keeping “Keeping Pennsylvania Growing” on Friday, Jan. 9 at the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show dinner in Harrisburg.
Winners included Hanover Shoe Farms, Hanover; H & J Weinberg Food Bank, Wilkes-Barre; the Swain School, Allentown; Rice Fruit Company, Gardners; and Penn State Cooperative Extension, University Park.
“These award recipients encompass every aspect of agriculture – from production and food safety to education and service,” said Wolff. “Pennsylvania is fortunate to be home to such a wide-ranging group that is so committed to improving and growing Pennsylvania’s number one industry – agriculture.”
The five winners are:
Hanover Shoe Farms in Hanover, York County, is North America’s leading standardbred breeding farm. Established in the early 1900’s, Hanover Shoe Farms world-renowned as a leader in animal breeding and welfare, the harness racing industry and as winners on the racetrack.
The farm also hosts the PA Preferred Standardbred Sale, the longest-running event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. The sale highlights the state’s elite equine genetics and the important economic impact the racing industry has in the commonwealth.
The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Food Bank in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, is a food link and resource to citizens in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. Each week, the food bank serves more than 9,600 individuals, totaling nearly 40,000 people annually with more than four million pounds of food to 160 agencies in the four-county region.
The food bank also works with the Wilkes-Barre Farmers Market to expand access and availability to fresh locally-grown produce to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients and Farmers Market Nutrition Program voucher recipients.
The Swain School in Allentown, Lehigh County, adopted the Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Farms and Healthy Schools program, which provides grants to kindergarten classes to learn about agriculture and develop healthy eating habits.
The school helped establish the link between farm and school by growing vegetables and produce in a school-wide garden and selling the products at a local farmers market. The school also hosted special events, inviting leaders from the Department of Agriculture, local media and several gardening experts.
Rice Fruit Company in Gardners, Adams County is a national leader in the fruit industry and committed to protecting consumers by providing high-quality products. The Rices’ work on the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System, or PASS, providing fresh apples to those in need of food assistance.
Also a leader in food safety, Rice Fruit Company sets a high standard for other specialty crops in developing and instituting food handling and tracking processes.
Penn State Cooperative Extension, headquartered at Penn State University in Centre County, is a strong partner with the Department of Agriculture and a significant, often behind-the-scenes, supporter of the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Part of Penn State’s outreach efforts, extension brings the university’s research-based information to local residents via non-formal education programs in each of the state’s 67 county offices. During the Farm Show, extension helps host exhibits, activities and contests; prepares students and adults for competitions; and teaches visitors about agriculture, family living and consumer sciences.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 270 commercial exhibitors. The eight-day show is Jan. 10-17, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $8. For more information, including a complete list of the 18 learning stations, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us
Photographs from this event are available by clicking here