HARRISBURG, Pa. — At the opening ceremony for the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show Saturday, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by youth agriculture leaders and state and federal elected officials for a celebration of progress for the industry that feeds and fuels the commonwealth.
“This year’s Farm Show and its theme—Rooted in Progress—perfectly capture the spirit of our industry and the work of the Wolf Administration over the past eight years to innovate and grow, while also staying true to our roots and the values that have sustained us for generations,” said Redding. “While the food and activities draw the crowds, this show is about more than food and fun. It’s an opportunity to come together and showcase the vital role that agriculture plays in our state and our nation.”
At the ceremony, Redding was joined by PA State Grange Outstanding Young Patron Glenn Wilkins; PA 4-H State Council President Alice Polcrack; PA FFA State Vice President Benjamin Torrey, who shared what the Pennsylvania Farm Show and agriculture mean to them as youth agriculturalists.
National Anthem by Natalie and Faith Musser from Lancaster County, winners of the 2023 PA Farm Show Oh Say, Can You Sing? Contest sang the National Anthem. As the final show of the Wolf Administration, the 2023 PA Farm Show theme—Rooted in Progress—is a nod to Governor Tom Wolf and his steadfast support for agriculture.
Upon taking office, Governor Wolf commissioned an economic impact report for the industry and quickly set to work using the recommendations to write a six-point plan for Pennsylvania agriculture that led to the proposal and funding of the first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill in 2019. The historic package of comprehensive legislation has since invested more than $100 million in the industry through grants, tax credits, loans, and other resources. In addition to providing a diverse array of grant programs to meet the needs of the industry identified in the first economic impact report, the PA Farm Bill included legislation to remove regulatory burdens and provide service support to the industry.
The PA Farm Bill combined with hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland preserved for perpetuity, historic investments in conservation, support for young and beginning farmers, and innovative programs to address food insecurity are all part of the Wolf Administration’s legacy of support for agriculture. These innovative policies and programs and targeted investments are a promise fulfilled by Governor Wolf, putting Pennsylvania on a path of progress and prosperity for the future.
At this year’s PA Farm Show, the Wolf Administration’s commitment to youth education is on display. Families are encouraged to explore these activities:
• Kids can become a Farm Show AgExplorer by visiting different stations. This unique program teaches visitors of all ages about Pennsylvania agriculture through fun, interactive and hands-on learning. If you can’t participate in person, check it out online.
• Visit the new PA Farms to Families Immersion Lab in the GIANT Expo Hall for fun things for kids to see and learn.
• Head over to Destination Dairy in Northeast Exhibit Hall to the Moo U interactive, STEM learning area with hands-on activities for kids with all ages.
• Check out goat snuggling each day in the New Holland Arena.
• Participate in Meet the Breeds to find out which dog is best for your family.
• Take a selfie with the sunflowers in the GIANT Expo Hall.
• Older kids and teenagers can participate in Judge Alongs for cookies, potatoes, floral arrangements, and more to learn about judging processes.
• Check out the vendors in the New Holland Arena, where there will be face painting and shopping.
• After all the fun, grab a new orange cream milkshake and more delicious PA foods at the Food Court.
• As a reminder, a nursing station will be located in the Cameron St. Lobby.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the Pennsylvania State Fair® and the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 12,000 competitive exhibits, nearly 6,000 animals, and 275 commercial exhibitors. The show runs from January 7 through 14. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from Interstates 81 and 83.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture