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My First Pennsylvania Farm Show, 2012

Posted: January 16, 2012

This year marked my first experience at the Pennsylvania Farm Show!

This past weekend, I saw more beef cattle and poultry, youth involved with 4-H and FFA, and general public interested in agriculture than I have seen anywhere else. You might wonder from this description where my adventures took me. This past weekend marked my first experience at the Pennsylvania Farm Show! As an intern, I had the opportunity to explore the Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, armed with a camera, to capture the dedication to agriculture and excitement that has come to represent this annual event.

As a past 4-H member myself, it was with great pride that I watched youth parade their market steers around the show arena and high school rodeo participants race barrels and wrestle calves. With sheer amazement and a small amount of terror, I watched a twelve-year-old mount a bull and be taken for a ride. Being the horse girl that I am, I loved the horse events, including the cart classes and the very inventive Farm Show creation, “Hay Bale Scurry” (an entertaining class in which two teams hitch their draft horses in the ring to sleds and proceed to race through an obstacle course, performing tasks along the way such as unloading and reloading hay on platforms and weaving cones). Judging by the cheering and enthusiasm from the grand stands, this was also an audience favorite!

It would be foolish of me to talk about my first Farm Show experience without mentioning the food, of course! This was my first introduction to the famous potato donuts, fried mozzarella cheese cubes, and Dairyman’s Association milkshakes, which absolutely lived up to the hype.  

Aside from the entertaining competitions and endless barns of animals, in retrospect, I have to admit that my overall favorite aspect of my first ever Pennsylvania Farm Show included seeing youth involved in agriculture for the first time. I am fortunate to have been raised with some background in agriculture, and have only increased my appreciation through my three years spent in the College of Ag Sciences. There’s something very satisfying about seeing a child watch a cow be milked, and hearing “So this is where my milk comes from?!” I enjoyed simply walking around and watching children be exposed to livestock for the first time, or learning from a ten year old 4-H entomology club member how bees really do serve an important role!

What I’ve learned from Farm Show: there is always more to learn about agriculture in Pennsylvania, and watching kids explore ag for the first time is one of the best ways to be inspired.

Check out this short video I took of some Farm Show scenes.

 --Jessica