Measuring up to the best
Published: January 16, 2014
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
HARRISBURG - Tougher and of higher quality.
Those superlatives are how local participants described the competition at the 98th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
"It's been fun," said Line Mountain junior Kellan Masser, 16, of Klingerstown. "I've been showing for a while and each year, it seems there's better competition."
Masser was one of several competitors from Schuylkill, Dauphin and Northumberland counties to emerge victorious following this year's show which concluded Jan. 11. Among the premier livestock and products chosen as some of the best in the state were entries from a Gratz dairy farm family, a Valley View woman with a knack for award-winning canned goods, a Klingerstown winery and a Millersburg honey producer.
Many local competitors know the rigors of showing an animal at the farm show. Kellan, and his sister, Casey Masser, 19, have been participating in the farm show for four, and five years, respectively. They are the children of Jeff and Julie Masser. On Thursday, Jan. 9, Kellan was preparing his Boer goats for the junior show later that evening, and gearing up for the open show on the final day, Jan. 11.
"You want to have quality meat and keep a watch for how muscular they look," he said, as he placed "Crystale," a groomed, 1 and 1/2-year-old Boer goat doe back in her pen. Crystale previously won Best of Show at Shenandoah Valley in Virginia at an American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) show.
"You want to see they have a decent size chest," added Casey, in response to a question about what judges may be looking for in an award-winner.
Kellan's family has ventured to Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia to buy goats for their Klingerstown farm.
During the state show, as well as exhibiting at the Schuykill County and Gratz fairs, Kellan has won numerous master showman titles and a few division titles.
This year at the state farm show, he won Junior Meat Boer Goat, Full Blood/Purebred Champion Yearling Doe; Reserve Grand Champion Doe; first Yearling Division- Percentage Doe, 12-under 16 months; and first Yearling Full Blood, 20-under 24 months.
Meanwhile, several members of the Campbell family met up with friends and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members from Upper Dauphin Area High School on Jan. 9 in the North Dairy Hall at the farm show complex.
Among them were Courtney, 19, Coy, 16, and Ty Campbell, 16, all from Gratz, Nathaniel Campbell, 15, of Elizabethville; Jake Cook, 14, of Halifax; and Damien Messner, 16, of Gratz.
Coy, a son of Garth and Melissa Campbell of Penn-Gra Holsteins, previously garnered national titles with his five-year-old Holstein, Shady-Row Dundee Daphne.
At this year's state show, Coy won Youth Holstein Junior Champion, Youth Holstein Senior Champion, Youth Holstein Grand Champion, Open Holstein Reserve Grand Champion, Youth Holstein Reserve Grand Champion, and Good Housekeeping awards, among other accolades.
Among Courtney's accomplishments was a first place for Youth Holstein Spring Calf; and a second place for Open Holstein Spring Calf.
Students from two, local school districts also placed at the state level with their FFA exhibits. Upper Dauphin FFA's entry, "Down the Drain," won fifth place and focused on the effects of medicines and home products going down the drain and the effects on water quality and aquatic life. It featured a giant, "running" spigot.
The Tri-Valley FFA entry, "White Nose Syndrome" highlighted the plight of bats, and earned 16th place.
Sally Reinoehl, of Valley View, garnered more than 60 awards for her canned goods, baked goods, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Her five-jar display of vegetables, and five-jar display of pickled or fermented vegetables both won first place and showed her patience in creating an eye-appealing, artful collection.
"I'm happy," Reinoehl said, while volunteering at the Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association booth.
Representatives from a local winery were among those tending a vendor booth with the Pa. Wine Association (PWA). Benigna's Creek Vineyard & Winery, of Klingerstown, offered their products to farm show patrons Jan. 8 and 9. The PWA had offered an opportunity for a rotating set of six wineries to participate every two days, according to Mike Masser, of Benigna's.
"The fruit wines have been the most popular with most people enjoying the sweet wines," Mike Masser said. "A lot of people ask us where we're from and if we do grow grapes. . . It's been great exposure," he said.
Benigna's had all of its wine offerings medal at this year's farm show, with an even split between silver and bronze medals, Masser said.
"There are a lot more wineries, and the quality of the wine they're producing has improved," he said of the vintners across the state.
In early spring or late winter this year, Benigna's will offer two new products - another sweet red and another sweet rose.
In the apiary area, honey made by a northern Dauphin County producer found a prominent spot among the state's best. Ryan Carns, of Carns Bee Farm, Millersburg, placed first in "extracted honey, commercial, three one-pound jars, white". Carns won additional awards for light amber, and beeswax products.
Other local residents offering products at this year's farm show included Erdman Game Farm, Herndon. Working the booth Jan. 9 were Lauren and Wanda Erdman and Drew Osenbach.
"Yes, it's been busy," said Lauren Erdman, as she waited on a line of customers ready to purchase plain and brightly-colored peacock feathers.
In the Dairy Promotion area, Schuylkill County Dairy Princess Madeline Daubert greeted visitors and answered questions. Cheyenne Nye-Gricks, 4, of Palmyra, grinned as Daubert handed her a pack of complimentary crayons.
In the Main Hall, John P. Chrisman, Vice-President of School Marketing and Dairy Optimization with the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, offered up the "Drums Alive" program. The activity gave farm show visitors a chance to burn off some steam, and to receive a refreshing sample. Chrisman led a group of visitors as they imitated him, pounding drum sticks on huge exercise balls, on the floor and in the air, while navigating around the play area.
"This is part of our 'Fuel Up To Play 60' campaign with the NFL. It's all about getting exercise, and eating right, with low-fat dairy and milk products being a big part of that," Chrisman said, noting children were given a free milk following the activity.
For a complete list of area winners, visit the farm show website at www.farmshow.state.pa; search for 2014 results; and then search by county.
(More color photos from the 98th annual Pa. Farm Show will be published in The Citizen-Standard EXTRA edition on Jan. 31.)