Final Pasto Ag Museum open house of year focused on haymaking

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The last open house of the year at the Pasto Agricultural Museum, held Nov. 13, highlighted the history of haymaking.

John Baylor, professor emeritus of agronomy extension -- a hay and forage expert -- discussed haymaking, and visitors watched a video of haymaking field demonstrations showing historic farm equipment.

"Dr. Baylor, who received the 2007 Pasto Agricultural Museum Volunteer Recognition Award, has had a long and distinguished career with the College of Agricultural Sciences," said Rita Graef, Pasto Museum curator. "Five years ago, he created a presentation at the museum, called '300 Years of Haymaking in Pennsylvania, 1640-1940: From Seed to Feed.'

Hay consists of the entire above-ground growth of forage plants -- sometimes including seeds of grasses and legumes -- that is harvested, dried and used for animal feed. Throughout the early days of this country, Pennsylvania led the other colonies and states in the production of food, Graef noted. It was the breadbasket of the nation and a leader in haymaking.

"Dr. Baylor offered an intriguing perspective on haymaking during this period," she said.

The Pasto Museum features hundreds of rare farm and home implements from the "muscle-power era," before the advent of electricity and gasoline-powered engines. "By seeing and touching tools and equipment used in early agriculture and rural life, people better understand and appreciate how early technological developments led to modern-day technologies," Graef explained.

Previously open only by appointment and during the three days of Ag Progress Days in August, the museum has welcomed visitors this fall from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday during Penn State home football weekends as part of a new initiative to increase public awareness of the museum's collection.

More information about the museum and its open house series is available at online.

Operated by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the Pasto Agricultural Museum is located on the Ag Progress Days site at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45.

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Last Updated November 14, 2011