Penn State presence felt all over the State Farm Show

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- If you want to learn more about insects, need advice on home gardening or seek guidance on how to choose an electricity provider, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences might have just the information you're looking for at the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 7-14 in Harrisburg.

The college's presence will be felt throughout the sprawling Farm Show Complex, but the showpiece will be an exhibit in the Main Hall offering varied presentations, as well as information for prospective students on academic programs and careers.

Penn State Extension educators and Master Gardeners will offer presentations throughout the week on topics such as how and when to prune trees, how to shop for an electricity supplier, helping bees, coping with common water issues facing farms and rural homes, growing the best tomatoes, dealing with invasive insects, floral design and recipes suitable for diabetics that everyone can enjoy. (See schedule below)

4-H youth also will give presentations on collecting insects and raising rabbits and poultry, and representatives from the Pasto Agricultural Museum will demonstrate the use of antique farm implements.

Looking for good students

College officials also hope to connect with prospective students at the Farm Show. "We look forward to meeting with families and students of all ages," said Tracy Hoover, interim associate dean for undergraduate education. "There are many educational and career opportunities in the agricultural sciences, and it all starts at Penn State, one of the premier agricultural colleges in the nation."

Faculty, staff and students from the College of Agricultural Sciences will be on hand with information about the college's programs in the food, agricultural and natural resource sciences. With 19 majors and about $1.8 million in scholarships available, the college has considerable diversity in its academic programs and many educational and life-changing opportunities to offer prospective students, according to Hoover.

"Graduates in these fields will have an opportunity to help solve challenges related to the food vs. fuel debate, the health of the Chesapeake Bay and other ecosystems, Marcellus Shale gas exploration, biofuels and other renewable energy production, use of technology in farming and food manufacturing, invasive species, sustainability, emerging diseases that affect people, animals and plants, and many other issues," she said.

Agricultural renewable energy

In the new Expo Hall, Penn State will join about 40 other exhibitors in the alternative energy exhibits area, which will focus on the latest energy technologies and products.

Researchers from the College of Agricultural Sciences will showcase energy conservation and on-the-farm energy production. The college also will highlight its diverse research and outreach programs aimed at making the most of agricultural renewable energy opportunities in Pennsylvania while reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.

Ag safety and health

The Pennsylvania Farm Safety and Health Quiz Bowl will be conducted by the college at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11. FFA and 4-H teams will compete in a quiz show format to demonstrate their knowledge of farm safety and health hazards and recommended practices.

The quiz bowl also enables participants to increase their leadership and public-speaking skills, according to Dennis Murphy, distinguished professor of agricultural safety and health.

"The quiz bowl helps young people learn about hazards and safety on farms in a fun way," said Murphy.

"The kids can enjoy friendly competition while learning information that they can use for the rest of their lives. Teens answer questions covering many farm-safety issues, such as safety with tractors, mowers and other farm machinery, child safety, first aid, animal care and disease control."

4-H exhibit

Located in Exhibit Room B off the Maclay Street lobby, near the Main Hall, the 4-H booth will focus on volunteerism and the 4-H Centennial. Visitors can tell their 4-H stories and view nostalgic photos and historical information. They also can participate in 4-H science activities, including robotics, in celebration of the last 100 years of 4-H in Pennsylvania.

"We invite Farm Show attendees to check out our history and join us on our journey ahead," said Mya Rushton, 4-H project development specialist. "By turning ideas into action, 4-H'ers leave lasting, positive impacts on Pennsylvania communities."

The 4-H booth will be staffed by 4-H members, staff, volunteers and state officers.

This year, a new 4-H food booth (serving beef brisket) will raise money for programs benefiting the more than 204,000 youth served by 4-H in Pennsylvania.

Penn State behind the scenes

Each year, more than 150 faculty, county-based extension educators and staff from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences participate in the Farm Show as committee chairs and members, exhibit personnel, publicity staff and show/judging coordinators for competitions ranging from beef cattle and poultry to maple products and mushrooms. The college's role is part of Penn State's land-grant partnership with the state.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in America, with 24 acres under roof, spread throughout 11 buildings including three arenas. Farm Show officials expect more than 400,000 spectators, some 8,000 animals, 13,000 competitive exhibits and nearly 300 commercial exhibitors at the eight-day event.

More than $465,000 in premiums will be offered to competitive exhibitors.

The show is held at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, at the corner of Cameron and Maclay streets in Harrisburg, just off exit 67 of Interstate 81. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 7-13 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 14. Admission is free, and parking is $10. For more information, visit the Farm Show website at


Schedule of presentations at the College of Agricultural Sciences exhibit, Main Hall:

Saturday, Jan. 7
-- 10-11 a.m.: 4-H Rabbits
-- noon-1 p.m.: Master Gardeners, Tree Pruning
-- 1-4 p.m.: 4-H Entomology, Insect Collection, including "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and "The Secret Life of Bees"

Sunday, Jan. 8
-- 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: 4-H Entomology: Insect Collection, including "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and "The Secret Life of Bees"
-- 1-4 p.m.: 4-H Poultry Club

Monday, Jan. 9
-- noon-1 p.m.: Master Gardeners, Beneficial Insects
-- 1-2 p.m.: Pasto Agricultural Museum Demonstration
-- 2-3 p.m.: Shopping for an Electricity Supplier

Tuesday, Jan. 10
-- noon-1 p.m.: Master Gardeners, Invasive Insects
-- 1-2 p.m.: Pasto Agricultural Museum Demonstration
-- 2-3 p.m.: Shopping for and Electricity Supplier

Wednesday, Jan. 11
-- 11 a.m.-noon Common Water Issues for Farms and Rural Homes
-- noon-1 p.m. Master Gardeners, Toxic Plants
-- 1-2 p.m. Pasto Agricultural Museum Demonstration
-- 2-3 p.m. Common Water Issues for Farms and Rural Homes

Thursday, Jan. 12
-- 11a.m.-noon Dining with Diabetes: Recipes Everyone Can Enjoy
-- noon-1 p.m. Master Gardeners, Helping Our Bees
-- 1-2 p.m. Dining with Diabetes: Recipes Everyone Can Enjoy

Friday, Jan. 13
--11a.m.-noon 4-H Rabbits
-- noon-1 p.m. Master Gardeners, Growing the Best Tomatoes
-- 1-4 p.m. 4-H Rabbits

Saturday, Jan. 14
-- noon-1 p.m. Master Gardeners, Ideas for Floral Design

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Last Updated January 05, 2012