Harrisburg, PA – Last Saturday, the 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show wrapped up eight days packed with hundreds of enlightening and entertaining events, highlighting the Pennsylvanians behind our strong, resilient roots, strategic investments and innovations feeding our economy and future.
“In Pennsylvania, agriculture is our heritage,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It’s the food on our tables. It’s the foundation of our economy. It’s our future. Our roots, and the progress we have planted and nourished have been on display for the past eight days. We are truly Rooted in Progress.”
Here are a few glimpses of the 2023 Pennsylvania State Fair™ and the bright future of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry that was in the spotlight in showrings, on stages, and in the inspiring stories around every corner:
A portion of the more than $420,125 raised at the Sale of Champions and Jr. Market Livestock Sale will go to fund Farm Show Scholarship Foundation scholarships in 2023. Many of the sales will fund the purchase of new animals for youth to raise, feeding their education through the next year. Animals donated by purchasers at the Jr. Market Livestock Sale to Feeding Pennsylvania will feed hungry neighbors across the state.
Five thousand-plus family members, educators and friends applauded 410 student leaders earning their Keystone Degrees — the capstone of their preparation for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology — at the FFA Mid-Winter Convention. Many of these students will become the skilled, innovative workforce that feeds our families and our economy tomorrow.
The PA Farm Show Scholarship Foundation seeded the future success of 13 college students with $32,000 in scholarships. Seven Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences students and one Delaware Valley University student got matching dollars from their colleges, bringing the total to $42,000.
Secretary Redding announced more than $4 million in new grants through the historic Pennsylvania Farm Bill to expand opportunities for military veteran-farmers, as well as funding for ag education, organic agriculture, urban agriculture and food access, adding to more than $100 million since Governor Wolf and the legislature passed the nation’s only state-level farm bill.
Agriculture policy-makers from the European Union, the Ivory Coast, China, Congress, several other U.S. states, Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, and local governments from across Pennsylvania converged on the PA Farm Show complex to hear about our progress, and hear perspectives from every ag sector on what we need to keep growing.
Pennsylvania’s Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro joined innovators changing the landscape of our leading industry to address 800 public officials and the ag leaders who will continue to feed our progress together.
Sixteen calves were born at the Calving Corner, where four PA dairy farm families introduced fascinated crowds daily with the miracle of birth. A host of volunteers demonstrated the hard work, passion and care that goes into putting wholesome PA dairy products on our tables day-in and day-out.
More than 66 spirited demos and heated cooking competitions featuring TV culinary stars and high-profile Pennsylvania chefs, to pint-sized kitchen novices, nutritionists, farmer-veterans, beekeepers, culinary students, and pint-sized kitchen novices delighted packed audiences on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage throughout the week — all highlighting ingredients from Pennsylvania farms. Visitors enjoyed samples and took home recipes to whip up PA-sourced culinary masterpieces at home.
The half-ton butter sculpture unveiled to kick off the 2023 Farm Show will be dismantled Sunday by 4-H members, recycled in a methane digester, and converted to renewable energy to power a Juniata County farm.
Without exception, the Ag membership organizations hosting food court booths reported record sales of volumes. Proceeds will fund professional development for their members, scholarships for future members, and beef up the bottom lines of Pennsylvania producers.
Some of the Farm Show Food Court sales, by the numbers, included:
PA FFA Foundation
20,000 slices of pizza, and 13,000 lemons squeezed to make lemonade
PA State Beekeepers Association
515 gallons of honey ice cream served by volunteers putting in 1,200+ hours
PA Livestock Association
40,000 pounds of products, prepared and served by 250 volunteers
PA Maple Syrup Producers Council
60-80 pounds of maple candy a day, using 2,000 lbs of cotton candy mix, served by 150 volunteers
State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania
54,000 cider donuts, 4,700 apple dumplings, 7,000 gallons of cider, 5,000 bags of cotton candy, and 60 bushels of apples sold by 360 volunteers
Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania
8,645 pounds of mushrooms sold
PA Cooperative Potato Growers
20,000 lbs. of French fries,12,000 lbs. of baking potatoes, 3,600 dozen pierogies with 2,000 lbs of sauteed onions, and 18,000 lbs of donut mix, served by workers putting in 6,500 hours
PA Dairymen’s Association
18,580 gallons of dairy milkshakes, 8,200 pounds mozzarella for cheese cubes, and grilled cheese sandwiches using 324 pounds butter, 1,200 loaves of bread, and 320 pounds of cheese slices
PA Vegetable Growers Association
Over 5,600 blooming onions, 7,500 servings batter-dipped vegetables, 3,000 corn dogs, 1,200 corn nuggets, 700 berry battered Oreo servings, 2,000 of fried pickles, 3,300 funnel cakes, 2,000 bowls of soup, 3,500 cups of berry-infused water, 3,600 cups of raspberry lemonade, 5,700 cups of Strawberry Surprise slush — all served by 300-plus shifts of volunteers putting in 2,000+ hours.
All told, the 2023 PA Farm Show offered up one million square feet of fun, education, heritage, inspiration, and innovation under one roof, vividly illustrating how Pennsylvania agriculture is Rooted In Progress.