HARRISBURG, Pa. — Three key sectors of Pennsylvania’s robust agriculture industry combined efforts to present Expo 2020 on Wednesday, February 19th at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pennsylvania. A new addition in 2020, the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Manure Summit joined the mix with the Keystone Pork Expo and Poultry Progress Day, bringing in a broad network of manure applicators and haulers to the Expo and helping to link pork and poultry growers with professionals equipped to assist with their nutrient management needs.
Hosted by PennAg Industries Association and the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council, the Expo featured general sessions on trade, changing demographics and the challenges of alternative proteins from John Hinners of the U.S. Meat Export Federation and Andrew Bailey of the National Pork Producers Council, respectively, along with a variety of pork, poultry and manure focused sessions.
Activities began at 7:30 a.m., leading the way for a day filled with educational and training sessions for the more than 1,200 attendees, as well as a trade show with over 80 exhibitors from across the country sharing innovative products and relevant information useful for all attendees.
“The Expo offers pork, poultry and manure industry professionals across the Commonwealth the opportunity to network, get a firsthand look at new technologies and hear directly from speakers on hot button issues and breaking news around agriculture – all things they can carry back to the farm or their agribusiness and apply toward a successful year ahead. Easily becoming Pennsylvania’s premiere animal ag event annually, the Expo continues to grow and gain momentum. This speaks volumes of the value and positive impact the event brings to attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and the industry at large, alike,” shared Jessica Darr, Assistant Vice President with PennAg, who also serves as Expo Coordinator.
Pork producers started the day with a free breakfast, courtesy of Boehringer Ingelheim. With full stomachs, the group listened as Dr. Meghann Pierdon, PennVet, provided a PA swine GIS update; Dr. Melissa Billing, Boehringer Ingelheim, presented information on emerging disease issues; Dr. Patrick Webb, National Pork Board, offered an update on African Swine Fever; and Dr. Paul Pitcher, USDA, rounded out the morning session with Streptococcus Zooepidemicus findings in PA and the domestic trade implications. In the afternoon, Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) and Pork Quality Assurance (PQA Plus) training certifications, as well as a Secure Pork Supply (SPS) Plan Writing Workshop was offered to pork industry attendees.
Likewise, poultry producers enjoyed a complimentary breakfast, courtesy of Best Veterinary Solutions. From there, attendees were able to participate in a Poultry Health Committee meeting, which included an update on poultry health issues across the state as well as a national overview, and a deep dive into Coryza. Later in the day, producers reconvened to hear from Dr. Paul Patterson, Penn State, regarding the effect of corn particle size and milling on growth and performance; Eileen Fabian, Penn State, speaking on modeling hen house ventilation options for cage free birds; and concluded the event with a panel discussion on stray voltage and why it matters in poultry.
Manure haulers and brokers kicked off the day with sessions that provided both Act 49 and Act 38 Nutrient Management Credits. Robb Meinen, Penn State Extension, spoke about foundational nutrient concepts that everyone handling manure should know; followed by Dr. Charlie White, Penn State, on the value of soil and manure testing; and Jennifer Weld and Bob Neiderer, Penn State, provided an overview of PAOneStop Mapping. To complete the manure hauler portion of the event, various speakers provided information and presentations on manure injection, all offering additional continuing education credits to those attending.
There was no cost for producers to attend the educational seminars or trade show at the Expo, thanks to the generosity of numerous sponsors. Gold sponsors for the event included Commercial Concepts AI, Inc.; SKOV; Topigs Norsvin USA; The Wenger Group; and York Ag Products, Inc. A full listing of event sponsors may be found on the “2020 Expo” tab of the PennAg website at www.pennag.com.
“I’m confident producers who participated in this free event gained a wealth of information to take home and apply to their farms and agribusinesses,” noted Christian Herr, Executive Vice President of PennAg. “This industry collaboration between those who generously sponsor and the more than 1,200 participants shows the importance of agriculture in Pennsylvania and the possibilities that result from successful alliances. We’re excited for the potential of this event moving forward.”
–Kelly J. Caldwell, PennAg Industries Association