Farm Show showcases locals Star lives up to her name
Published: January 10, 2013
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HARRISBURG - The 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show opened Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.
With this year's theme being "Made in PA," Schuylkill County was among the many farmers and exhibitors represented at the show.
During the opening ceremonies Saturday morning, Gov. Tom Corbett and Agriculture Secretary George Greig welcomed visitors to celebrate the state's agriculture industry.
"Pennsylvania has a rich agricultural tradition and the Pennsylvania Farm Show honors our oldest and largest industry," Corbett said. "There are almost 13 million people in Pennsylvania and every one of them depends on 62,000 farm families. To all our farmers, thank you."
Corbett also shared accomplishments that kept Pennsylvania growing over the past year including preserving nearly 13,000 acres of farmland across the state through the state's farmland preservation program, eliminating the "death tax" on farm real estate, which helps farmers transition their properties more easily to the next generation and signing several transportation laws that allow farmers to transport modern farm equipment, helping them work more efficiently, boost productivity and ensure a safe and abundant food supply.
Greig said that this year the show features over a million square feet of exhibit space and the state's first agriculture show was hosted by William Penn in 1686.
"We're still celebrating the best of Pennsylvania," Greig said. Corbett also said with the farm show being broadcast live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network this year, it is the first time there has been a live broadcast in eight years.
While the show features many exhibitors from Schuylkill County in categories such as Christmas trees, family living, nuts, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, market animals, horses, rabbits and sheep, the Gruber family who own Six G's Angus in Auburn are showing a 3-month-old calf named Rosie.
The farm is owned by Matthew and Heather Gruber, while their daughter, Madalyn, is showing the calf in her first year in 4-H.
Heather Gruber said she and her husband met when they were in 4-H, she was a founding member of the club, and he used to show beef cattle, then three years ago he got the urge to get them again.
Since they bought their first pair of heifers, they've been breeding calves every year ever since.
"Even though we knew it was going to be a little while till our kids could show, we wanted to get a nice herd established, a few good quality animals, so when they were ready to start 4-H they were set and ready to go," she said. "The kids are out with them when they're babies."
They now have 10 head of cattle, consisting of cows, calves and a bull that they raised.
"Growing up in the 4-H, we know how important it is for our kids to have that connection with the land, where everything comes from and how hard it is from standing out in the field to onto your plate," she said. "We want our kids to appreciate this cow that they have and we're trying to keep the 4-H tradition going."
The family's British White Park cow won second in its class and reserve champion heifer pure bred class on Friday in the open show and the others will be shown.
Another exhibitor from Schuylkill County was John Mease, 11, of Pine Grove, who was showing his goat and hog in the junior market animals division.
Michael Mease, John's father, said they come to the Pennsylvania Farm Show every year, but it is his son's second year showing and his fourth year in the 4-H program.
Last year, John placed fourth with his hog, making the sale, which only the top six made it.
"To make the sale is a pretty big deal" Michael said. "It also, over time, makes you eligible for a scholarship."
"If I win again, I get a scholarship," John said.
Michael said a lot of children show their whole life and never make the sale because there are so many animals.
John has also been showing at the Schuylkill County Fair and Gratz Fair.
According to information from the Pennsylvania Farm Show press office, the show runs until Jan. 12 and is the largest indoor agricultural event in the U.S. with 10,000 competitive exhibits, nearly 300 commercial exhibitors and more than 400,000 visitors attending each year.
New to the show this year is a Hobby Lobby with quirky competitions such as a duct tape contest to decorated bowling pin and snazzy sneaker entries, new entries to the sweet competition with fudge and cupcake contests, new additions to the Apiary Products Department with the addition of new judged honey products including sauces, beverages and salad dressings, and the Junior Breeding Beef Supreme Champion Pageant will recognize young beef farmers and their prize-winning cattle.
For more information, visit www.farmshow.state.pa.us.