Harrisburg – Governor Edward G. Rendell today kicked off the 2010 Pennsylvania Farm Show by welcoming visitors, exhibitors, and the agriculture community and also by saluting members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and their families.
“From the men and women who work hard each day to provide food and fiber for our citizens to the dedicated military personnel who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms, our state’s heritage and our future are interwoven with those who dedicate their lives to serving others,” Governor Rendell said.
Governor Rendell and Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding also accepted the Above and Beyond Award from the U.S. Department of Defense. This award recognizes civilian employers who support and value the military service of their employees. Also present was Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jessica Wright, who oversees the Pennsylvania National Guard troops and their related support services.
“The Commonwealth is honored to have so many brave men and women serving in the Pennsylvania National Guard,” Governor Rendell said. “Whether they work beside us, or sacrifice on the fields of battle, every citizen owes our National Guard members a debt of gratitude.”
Governor Rendell also highlighted some of the many accomplishments of agriculture during his seven years in office including:
• Centers For Excellence – The Centers for Beef Excellence, Dairy Excellence and Farm Transitions have helped thousands of producers run their farms more efficiently and increase their profit margins.
• Dog Law – With the signing of Act 119 of 2008 and the requirements on commercial kennels that went into effect in Oct. 9, 2009 Pennsylvania is shedding its reputation as the “Puppy Mill Capital of the East.” The legislation raised the bar on commercial kennels in Pennsylvania ensuring that profits aren’t placed above the welfare of dogs.
• Farmland Preservation - Under the Rendell Administration, 167,036 acres on 1,697 farms have been preserved so agricultural uses will continue on those lands forever. Pennsylvania leads the nation in farmland preservation with more than 418,000 acres preserved on more than 3,800 farms.
• PA Preferred Branding Program – The PA Preferred Branding Program, created in 2004, allows consumers to more easily identify Pennsylvania-made products, so buyers can support local producers and processors. PA Preferred has more than 2,300 members and is featured at more than 4,400 member locations.
• PA Racing Expansion – The passing of slots legislation has helped to revitalize Pennsylvania’s horse and harness racing industries. With increased efforts in horse breeding and training and two brand new race tracks, the commonwealth is becoming a premiere destination for horsemen and racing fans.
• Renewable Energy – In May 2010 all diesel fuel sold in Pennsylvania will contain at least two percent biodiesel. This initiative not only benefits the state’s agriculture industry by using crops grown here in the commonwealth but also reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
The 94th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs through Jan. 16 and features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 270 commercial exhibitors. For more information or a complete schedule, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To receive news releases, media advisories and story ideas, subscribe to the Farm Show Media Service at www.farmshow.state.pa.us (click on Media).
For photos click here.