Farm Show real glimpse of our state

Better-than-average January weather conditions have greeted the 103rd annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, which is underway this week in Harrisburg.

The absence of snow, slippery highways and other adverse conditions is providing a great opportunity for area residents — non-farmers as well as farmers — to attend what’s billed as the nation’s largest indoor agricultural exposition.

The farming extravaganza, an eight-day event that runs through Saturday, is held each year at the state Farm Show Complex.

The complex provides 24 acres of exhibition space under one roof.

Area residents who look forward to attending this region’s county fairs each summer, to see the animals and various other exhibits that make those events so interesting and enjoyable, will be rewarded with much of the same and much more if they make the not-burdensome trip to the commonwealth’s capital city area.

But the farm show is not just about farming in general. Blair County is represented in some of the exhibits and competitions that the show features each January.

Over the years, area people have come home with show honors that they can cherish for the rest of their lives.

A front-page article in Sunday’s Mirror provided a glimpse of what participation in the show can mean for young people.

The young people Mirror reporter Walt Frank interviewed for that article spoke about meeting new people, about the show teaching many life lessons, about the opportunity to make new friends, as well as build responsibility and enhance leadership skills.

This year’s show theme, “Inspiring Pennsylvania’s Story,” reflects those benefits.

Among the many show activities tied to that theme are a daily story time for children, opportunities for attendees to engage and tell their own stories, and witnessing or participating in interviews with Pennsylvania residents working in agriculture.

A statement from Farm Show Executive Director Sharon Altland, included in Sunday’s article, pointed out that this year’s theme “speaks to the importance of using our voices to champion our industry, to be the storytellers expressing our mission and our purpose.”

She added, “I encourage Pennsylvanians from across the commonwealth to come to Harrisburg … tell their stories and celebrate our shared sense of community.”

There is much about this county’s vibrant farming industry that can be imparted to others, and the state farming event is a wonderful venue for doing that.

Blair County agriculture can boast a proud past and a proud present; it undoubtedly will have a proud future — a part of which will be worthy of being on display in Harrisburg each January, going forward.

This year, exhibits from this county will be seen and appreciated by many of the more than half-a-million people from the Keystone State and beyond who will venture to the big event to enjoy and appreciate the 12,000 competitive exhibits that will be showcased there, including 5,200 animal competitions.

The accuracy of Pennsylvania’s claims about having a rich agricultural heritage never should be questioned. Also not to be doubted is Blair County’s important part in helping the state be among the nation’s agricultural leaders.

Seize the opportunity that this week’s better-than-average weather conditions will make possible.

Visit the Farm Show and gain a better perspective of how Pennsylvania agriculture’s benefits extend far and wide.