Farm Show Exhibit Focuses On Technology

December 22, 1998

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's exhibit at the 1999 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Jan. 9 to 14, at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, will offer visitors a glimpse of how farming is changing by plugging into the high-technology world of precision agriculture and computer-aided mapping technology. The exhibit area is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.

A display titled "Precision Agriculture In Pennsylvania" will feature hands-on exhibits such as a precision sprayer that can be adjusted to deliver customized applications based on any farm's production and crop information. Visitors also can climb onto the EDUGATOR, a John Deere all-terrain vehicle outfitted with a Global Positioning System and an onboard computer, to see how farms of any size can improve their bottom line using technology.

"Today, a typical Pennsylvania farmer using a laptop computer and a Global Positioning System can map his fields for nutrient deficiencies, target specific acres for pesticide applications and notify the county soil conservation office of changes in his acreage," says David Wagner, assistant professor of agricultural engineering.

Another exhibit, "GIS Applications in Pennsylvania," will offer high-speed Internet access for rapid demonstrations of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS can help counties or municipalities map 911 emergency systems, utility grids, water resources and treatment systems and other information in a central database. There also will be on-line computer information outlining programs, state agencies and municipalities that have GIS databases available through the Internet.

"GIS technology can give municipal and state officials the big picture in a literal sense," explains Rick Day, assistant professor of soil science and environmental systems. "It can be used to see how a small town uses its water supply or to reveal how the streams and rivers of Pennsylvania affect the Chesapeake Bay."

A display sponsored by the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering will provide information about electricity deregulation and energy conservation. Visitors can see a scale model detailing how electricity is generated and distributed, and access and print out a central database of electrical service providers. Information and enrollment applications for electricity deregulation programs also will be available.

The Penn State exhibit also will feature information on private, state and federal farmland preservation programs. The Penn State Ag Council will staff an area to provide visitors with information and publications about the state's agricultural business community. The College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society will have an area where alumni can pick up recent newsletters, magazines or other publications. In addition, a videotape and informational panel will preview the College's Ag Progress Days event for 1999.

Penn State Cooperative Extension will staff an area providing access to the World Wide Web and information on statewide and local extension programs, publications, conferences and events, as well as how to contact local cooperative extension offices. Students and faculty also will distribute information on undergraduate education in the College.

Next to the main Penn State exhibit, the School of Forest Resources will staff a display, "Sustaining Pennsylvania's Renewable Forest Resources Through Research and Outreach." The exhibit will offer educational displays and publications on careers in wood products, forestry, fish and wildlife science, water resources and urban and community forestry.


EDITORS: For more information, contact Chuck Gill at 814-863-2713.

Contacts: John Wall 814-863-2719 814-865-1068 fax

Last Updated March 19, 2009