Agriculture on display

Rob Trenchard, a spokesman for HydroTech, describes the properties of a new high-tech mulch film his company produces during a demonstration at Ag Progress Days on Aug. 14, 2018. This year’s Ag Progress Days kicks off Aug. 13 and runs through Aug. 15 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs. Mirror file photo by Gary M. Baranec

More than 500 commercial and educational exhibits await visitors at next week’s Ag Progress Days.

Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor agricultural exposition will be held Aug. 13 to 15 at Penn State’s research center at Rock Springs.

“Ag Progress Days is a great opportunity to show what the College of Agricultural Sciences is doing at the research farm and see exactly what is going on with the industry. Visitors can see the latest in equipment from the average lawn mower to high-tech tractors,” said Jesse Darlington, Ag Progress Days manager.

Demonstrations will be a big part of the annual event.

“The demonstrations highlight some of the new things that we are doing. Examples include direct cut soybean chopping, high-speed tillage and planting green with a cover crop,” Darlington said. “We will again have the vegetable demonstration area, and hemp will be part of it for the first time. There will be talks about that; not a lot of people know about it.”

Darlington said he hopes the event draws about 45,000 spectators “from farmers to the family who want to learn about things like cooking and show their little ones about 4-H programs to get involved in them.”

Spotted lanternflies, invasive plant diseases, robots in agriculture and education and foreign animal diseases will be among the topics highlighted in displays and presentations at the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building.

Ag Progress Days visitors can speak with Penn State spotted lanternfly experts, learn how to identify the various life stages of the insect and find out how they can help contain and manage lanternfly infestations.

The 4-H Youth Building will feature new activities designed to excite kids of all ages, with many of the displays highlighting animal science projects.

Children can learn how to get involved with 4-H while experiencing activities, demonstrations and other 4-H programs, said Jeanette Stackhouse, 4-H education program associate and teen program manager for Penn State Extension.

“4-H serves as a pathway to the future, with many of its alumni going on to have a career or hobbies that are connected to their time in 4-H,” Stackhouse said in a statement.

The Family Room Building will offer a variety of interactive displays on overall health and wellness.

Free bus tours will be offered on numerous topics. Examples include hops research, managing livestock pastures with alternative forages and strategies for improving dairy cropping systems.

All Ag Progress Days tours are free, but require tickets, which can be obtained at the departure point at the corn crib near the top of Main Street at the show site.

A demonstration of the Pasto Agricultural Museum’s 1905 Panama O.K. Hay Press will highlight the historical facility’s offerings.

The animal-powered, stationary hay press was manufactured in 1905 in Kansas City and was one of the early success stories of a machine for compressing hay, according to Rita Graef, curator of the Pasto Museum. Graef said that the O.K. Hay Press has been demonstrated at several previous Ag Progress Days and has proven to be a popular attraction.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is welcoming visitors to its exhibition building to learn how the farm bureau is working for farm families and the future of agriculture in the commonwealth.

Guests who visit PFB’s building will be able to catch up on the latest legislative issues, learn about upcoming activities among Farm Bureau committees and talk with representatives.

“Ag Progress Days provides an ideal setting for people to engage with Farm Bureau members and staff, express their views on key agriculture issues and receive updates on what has been happening in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.,” PFB President Rick Ebert said in a statement. “We also have a variety of fun, hands-on activities specifically designed for children. In addition, we’re encouraging people not associated with agriculture to attend Ag Progress Days to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about farming practices, participate in educational tours and interact with farmers.”

Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, located nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45.

For more information go to agsci.psu.edu.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

If you go

What: Ag Progress Days

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15

Where: Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, located nine miles southwest

of State College on Route 45.

Cost: Admission and parking are free.

More information: agsci.psu.edu


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