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Franklin Co. honors farm show winners

February 21, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County harvested a cornucopia of awards at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January, and many of them gathered Tuesday to reap additional kudos from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

"We're proud of each and every one of you ... We're especially proud to see so many young folks," Commissioner G. Warren Elliott told the group of about 60 young and not-so-young winners from the show.

"It's important because agriculture is very significant to Franklin County" and still its No. 1 industry, Elliott said. Despite the rapid residential and commercial development in recent years, he said, "over half the land mass in the county is involved in agriculture."

Franklin County ranked ninth in awards among the 64 Pennsylvania counties that had participants in this year's Farm Show, county Senior Planner Sherri Clayton said. The total was 78 people winning more than 280 awards, including 108 first-place awards.

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Most of those at Tuesday's ceremony were young, with large contingents from the Chambersburg Area School District FFA and Franklin County Career and Technology Center, but a number of adults also received awards.

Among the adults, Galen R. May of St. Thomas, Pa., had the fourth-best Douglas fir in the Christmas tree competition. He said there were about 150 entries in the competition in which the trees were judged on "the density, the shape, the color and the natural look of it."

Phoebe Conner of Chambersburg took up crocheting recently and took first place in the Family Living Clothing Textile Open competition with the poncho she made.

If, however, there is a heavyweight champion of farm show competitors from the county, it is Dwight Mickey of Shatzer Fruit Market near Chambersburg.

"They haul those little awards home by the pickup full," May said.

This year's haul was more than 180 awards in various fruit categories, including 55 first-place awards, Mickey said. In 31 years at the show, the orchard has collected more than 2,000 awards, he said.

"It's just an extension of what I do for a living," Shatzer said. "I try to grow all of my apples with the intention of them going to the farm show."

"They've been pushing me and I've been pushing them," career and technology center instructor David Perry said of his students, who brought home a dozen awards in Agricultural Education Demonstrations, including top honors to Richard Cline, Shay Fox, Courtney Kraal and Christina McCurdy for their house plant designs.

The FFA members brought home 10 awards for Agriculture Education Demonstrations in categories such as sitting and showing steers and fishing know-how, said Sam Byers, an agribioscience and horticulture teacher at Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg.

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