Farm Show : A Tradition

I was sitting in the Equine Arena between shows and looking at the big United States flag and it struck me how strong a tradition the Pennsylvania Farm Show has become. Four hundred thousand people don’t brave the January weather lightly. There is a history and tradition among the people who visit, the people who exhibit, and those that work at the show. The diverse tapestry of the agricultural community, everyone from the dairy farmer, beekeeper, food scientist, and wildlife manager to the equipment dealer, agricultural banker, and teacher, they all come together at Farm Show in a concentrated form. They reflect a tradition that continues to grow even as agriculture changes and grows. At least that was what was running through my head when I was looking at the flag.

Thousands of people pour into the Farm Show everyday. Because of the sheer size of the facilities those people spread out into a comfortable level of activity.

I was at the Equine Arena hoping to get some pictures of the Market Steer Show but I arrived too early. I did find John Comerford, associate professor of dairy and animal science, is co-chair of the Beef Cattle Committee at the show and responsible for making sure all the cattle competitions run smoothly. I asked him when he arrived and he said he’d been there since last Monday when they started checking in cattle and doing some of the preliminary judging. Saying it’s a lot of work is an understatement. It is part of the tradition of support the College of Agricultural Sciences gives to the Farm Show.

John does not work alone and has a committee to help with all the work. I found a place to sit down in the Show Office to delete pictures when I saw Gary Abdullah (on right), a news writer in the college, come in looking for information about oxen. I don’t think I ever saw an ox and so far haven’t found one. But Gary was convinced there were some at the show and was hoping the Extension Educators working on the cattle committee could point him in the right direction. I’m not sure if he found them.

I stopped by the Penn State exhibit and things were well underway. The plasma monitors were running lots of video and presentation materials. I’ll post a lot more pictures in the coming days. Maybe this is the beginning of another Farm Show tradition.


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