This is the 102nd year of the Pennsylvania Farm
Show, and if you ask 102 Pennsylvanians what the Farm Show experience means to
them, you’re likely to get 102 wildly different answers. That’s part of the
inspiration behind this year’s theme: “Strength in Our Diversity.”
“The agriculture industry is Pennsylvania’s crowning jewel,
with its many facets on display every year at the Farm Show,” Agriculture
Secretary Russell Redding said. “Just like a jewel, agriculture reflects
something different from every angle, and it changes as you look at it in
This year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and
the Pennsylvania Farm Show Foundation invite you to look at agriculture from
different angles and consider diverse perspectives as you enjoy all the Farm
Show has to offer.
Consider agriculture through the eyes of a child from the
city, seeing a cow up-close for the first time, or learning how bees make
honey, or finding out that their cuddly-soft sweater is made from the hair of a
long-haired angora rabbit that looks like a furball – and watching the rabbit
sit contentedly while its fur is spun into yarn.
While you’re at it, check out the joy of that urban child’s
rural counterparts, all dressed up and parading their pride and joy around the
show ring for the judge’s approval, and for the reward of a ribbon, a cash
prize and bragging rights for the coming year. Nothing is more fun than
watching a tiny girl in pink and sparkles, exerting her will over a spiffed-up
hog that’s several times her size, then dancing with joy as she waves a blue
ribbon around when the competition is over.
Keep your eye on the face of a middle-school student at the
Ag 101 stage, enthralled by the newfound possibility of a high-tech career
using agricultural drones to map crop productivity. And drink in the enthusiasm
of an apiarist – that’s a beekeeper, in case you’re whipping out your
dictionary – educating a crowd about the tremendous diversity of Pennsylvania
crops and how that diversity benefits the bees that are so crucial to our food
As you nibble prize-winning cheese samples and sip a famous
Farm Show milkshake, consider the industry from the perspective of a dairy
farmer, maintaining not just a family tradition, but a lifetime of investment
he’s fighting to sustain in the face of a changing marketplace. Or explore an
exhibit on how those same farmers work to produce renewable energy and improve
the water supply not just for their own farms but the entire Mid-Atlantic
Witness the pride and the sheer determination that goes into
the food on our tables, and take a moment to say hello, and thank you to the
wide variety of farmers and producers who work so diligently to get it there.
Then check out the food and fiber that can be made from hemp,
an experimental crop, researched this past year as a potentially viable and
lucrative crop for PA farmers. Everything from skateboard decks and auto bodies
to tasty cooking oil and soda pop – we guarantee your perspective on the
potential of a simple plant will change.
As you take a minute to check out a chicken, cozy up to a
cow, giggle at a goat, hug a horse or snuggle up to a bunny, take note of the
diversity of each species of animal. From the funky-looking frizzle chicken to
the iconic Holstein cow, and from the most delicate butterfly to the massive
Percheron draft horse pulling thousands of pounds, the variety is endless.
Plants, you’ll find, are just as diverse — from the
syrup-producing hard maples to festive Frazier firs, and from poinsettias to
pumpkins and potatoes to pansies.
Whether it rolls off a hi-tech production line; is plucked
from an indoor, urban aqua-culture farm; or picked lovingly and processed at a
small family-owned orchard; or cut from the forest, hewn in a lumber mill, and
crafted by a local artisan; or brewed to perfection in a craft microbrewery,
the quality and diversity of Pennsylvania products made from those plants and
animals are on display at the 2018 Farm Show.
You can explore the rich history of how each product came
into being, and the vision of how they might be produced in the future, when
the smallest Farm Show visitor finishes school and finds an array of
agriculture jobs in-demand and waiting. Even if you’re already a food-lover,
your perspective is sure to change.
For sheer entertainment’s sake, you can marvel at a working
cowboy or cowgirl competing in a champion rodeo, watch a lumberjack show off
his skills, learn to make a new dish under the skilled direction of a decorated
chef, or watch teams of artisans create garments from the shearing process to
For inspiration, you can hear the story of a veteran who
returned from service and put his hard-earned skills to work on a farm, meet a
dedicated volunteer who has served visitors at Farm Shows since the 1960s. You
can even witness the miracle of life, aided by a veterinarian in this year’s
new Calving Corner birthing center.
The people of Pennsylvania agriculture are diverse and
deeply inspirational in their stories, their struggles, their joys and their
pride in what they produce.
So, even if you’ve been here before, take a fresh look at
the 2018 Farm Show! Our industry is strong. Our Diversity is Our Strength.