HARRISBURG, Pa. — Beef cattle judging, junior market swine classes, square dancing and the Pennsylvania FFA Association Mid-Winter Convention filled exhibition halls and arenas on the third day of the 95th Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Visitors spilled in and out of the Farm Show Complex entrances throughout the day Monday. The events continue through Saturday, with the annual rodeo closing the festivities.
Most Franklin County, Pa., beef cattle competitors moved out of their stalls Monday afternoon to make room for incoming dairy cattle.
Monte and Lauren Nisewander of Greencastle, Pa., have shown cattle at the farm show for five years. On Monday, their red heifer took third in her class.
Monte Nisewander said the event provides an opportunity to receive feedback from judges and observe the quality of other cattle.
“You get to see a lot of people and different animals,” he said.
Mercersburg, Pa., resident Mandy Clark and her boyfriend, Matt Stahl, participated in classes throughout the weekend. Among Clark’s short-horn cattle, a white one took division champion and a roan took “all other champion heifer.”
“I’m excited,” she said. “You always try to have the best cattle you can.”
Her steer, Rhinestone, will be sold at auction today.
Clark started raising cattle when her relationship with Stahl started 4 1/2 years ago. Today, she works full time with cows at a facility and cares for her own in the evenings. She washes and dries the show cattle every day, using hair products to soften their coats.
“We came (to the farm show) as kids. Once I had the cattle, I fell in love with it,” she said of showing.
Younger farm show participants from FFA took a break from their projects at 2 p.m. for their convention. Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding told the teenagers they are the future of the agriculture industry and explained the importance of the show.
“We have eight days to celebrate agriculture and have the public’s attention on agriculture,” he said, saying officials anticipate crowds totaling 500,000 people by week’s end.
Among Monday’s 265 recipients of Keystone Degrees, the highest FFA award at the state level, were four high school seniors from Franklin County. They were Travis Byers and Matt Dodson from Chambersburg Area Senior High School, and Matthew Hartung and Hailey Martin from James Buchanan High School.
Dwight Mickey had exhibits at the farm show 35 years ago. For the past 25 years, his focus has been on volunteering with the state horticultural association at the apple stand in the food court.
The booth sells apples, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple butter and more. Mickey, whose family operates Shatzer’s Fruit Market in Chambersburg, said proceeds benefit fruit research.
The sales provide an opportunity to do outreach, and talk to people about the taste and health benefits of apples, Mickey said.
“It’s also a chance to give exposure to some of the newer varieties and lesser-known ones,” he said.
The farm show is a good time to catch up with old friends and talk about orchards, Mickey said. Franklin County is the No. 2 apple-producing county in Pennsylvania behind neighboring Adams County, he said.
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