Penn State plays big role at State Farm Show

December 19, 2008

The many faces of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will be evident at the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 10-17 in Harrisburg. The showpiece will be an expanded exhibit with educational stage presentations, but the college's presence will be felt throughout the sprawling Farm Show Complex.

In the college's exhibit in the Main Exhibits Hall just off the Maclay Street entrance, a wide variety of displays will highlight the college's expertise and programs in areas such as land-use planning, bioenergy research, food-safety and preservation, and water quality.

The college will offer presentations throughout the week with such titles as Water Resources Issues for Rural Landowners, Environmentally Safe Lawns and Gardens, the Environmental Benefits of Green Roofs, 4H Seeing Eye Dogs and Coping with High Energy Prices in the Home. For a complete schedule of stage presentations, visit the Web at
Officials also hope to connect with prospective students at the Farm Show. "We're always looking for good students," said J. Marcos Fernandez, associate dean for undergraduate education. "We are excited about showcasing the numerous fulfilling careers associated with agriculture and renewable natural resources.
"We look forward to meeting with families and students of all ages," Fernandez added. "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 21 majors and $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 Fernandez.
Penn State also will take part in the renewable agricultural energy exhibit area in the new Expo Hall. More than 40 exhibitors will share the latest information on wind, solar, biogas, biodiesel and biomass technologies. Researchers from the College of Agricultural Sciences will display agricultural crops -- such as canola, mustard, camelina and soybean -- that can yield biofuels.
"The university is showcasing its diverse research and outreach aimed at taking the abundant biomass resources of Pennsylvania and turning them into energy products," said Tom Richard, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering, who is director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.
The Pennsylvania Farm Safety and Health Quiz Bowl will be offered by the college at 1 p.m.  Wednesday, Jan. 14. FFA 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, farm safety specialist and 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."
Agricultural safety and health also will be highlighted in the Exposition Hall, where visitors will have an opportunity to identify hazards and win door prizes at the Mowing Safety display. In addition, spectators can learn about a variety of programs addressing agricultural emergencies and other farm safety programs.
Each year, more than 100 faculty, county 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 judging coordinators for competitions from beef cattle and poultry to maple products and mushrooms.
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 & 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. 10-16 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 17. Admission is free, and parking is $5. For more information, visit the Web at

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Last Updated March 19, 2009