HARRISBURG (Jan. 18, 2022) – The 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show came to a close on Saturday, Jan. 15, after a successful return to an in-person show, said Sen. Elder Vogel, R-47.
While the attendance for the 2022 show was down from prior shows, this year’s show saw visitors come back to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg after last year’s show was a virtual event due to concerns about COVID-19.
While COVID-19 continues to circulate through the community, it didn’t dampen the participation in what is the largest indoor agricultural expo in the nation.
During a discussion with Sen. Vogel earlier in the week, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said of the decision for the 2022 show, “Agriculture didn’t take a day off the last two years, and we’ve got a lot of folks who are vaccinated – 74% of everybody over the age of 18 fully vaccinated- so we felt like, ‘Listen, we’re in a good spot, it’s never going to be perfect, but let’s start planning for an in-person Farm Show.’”
Sec. Redding noted that planning for the Farm Show begins in July, and there were a lot of changes made to the Farm Show Complex and the show itself, including wider aisles, improved ventilation and upgraded lighting, in addition to a public messaging campaign about the show and the improvements.
“You can see the response,” said Sec. Redding. “The ag community has come back, and the public has been really inquisitive about what’s here, and they’re refreshed, as we are, so it’s nice to be live again in the Farm Show.”
Noting he observed several of the livestock sales during the show, Sen. Vogel said, “It seemed like a lot of kids brought a lot of livestock and other things … it seemed like prices were going well.”
According to the Department of Agriculture, more than $385,025 was raised at the Sale of Champions and Jr. Market Livestock Sale, with a portion of those proceeds funding the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation scholarships in 2023. During this year’s show, 15 college scholarships totaling $52,500 were awarded to agriculture students by the foundation.
Sec. Redding said the show’s livestock numbers were down slightly, but only to about 4,000. The Farm Show normally features nearly 6,000 animals.
During the eight-day event, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Vogel, held a public discussion about mental health and the agricultural community.
“As we are all aware, concerns regarding mental health have come to the forefront as a significant social concern in our society, magnified since the pandemic began in early 2020. It’s apparent that those working in agriculture are impacted as well, but perhaps have a unique set of circumstances that potentially limit their ability to obtain the assistance they need,” said Sen. Vogel.
During the committee discussion, Sec. Redding indicated the Agriculture Department recently received a two-year, $500,000 federal grant to bolster mental health services and resources for the agricultural community, and the department is launching a statewide education and awareness campaign in February. Redding added the department is working with the national AgriSafe Network to soon provide a 24/7 mental health hotline for agricultural producers.
According to the network’s website, AgriSafe was formed in 2003 by rural nurses who believed that together they could improve the health and safety of farmers and ranchers. The network now builds the competency of health and safety professionals to deliver exceptional occupational agricultural health care.
Sen. Vogel also participated in the Celebrity Feed Scurry event earlier in the week, and in the Celebrity Milking Contest on the second-last day of the PA Farm Show.
The roughly 30-minute milking contest featured four teams, with each team member having 45 seconds to milk their team’s cow.
The winner of the contest – the one with the most milk in their pitcher at the end of the time period – was the team led by Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Mikayla Davis. Sen. Vogel’s team finished a close second.
Video of Sen. Vogel’s interview with Sec. Redding
Video of Panel Discussion on Mental Health in Agriculture
Video from Celebrity Feed Scurry
Video from Celebrity Milking Contest
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