How do you show the consuming public exactly what happens on a modern livestock farm – all on less than a quarter-acre – inside a building – in the middle of winter? Just ask Chris Herr.
The executive vice-president of PennAg Industries led an industry-wide effort of more than 100 sponsors and supporters to put together the "Today's Agriculture" exhibit that debuted at the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show. Farm Show officials estimate that the exhibit helped boost attendance by more than 12%.
Today's Agriculture will be back at the 2013 Farm Show, bigger and better, yet still on the same quarter-acre. Its 47-ft. by 84-ft. livestock barn will be back with more poultry and livestock displays, and more videos on bigger screens showing how animals are raised. The barn's dairy freestall section, for instance, will be set up with mattresses, floor matting, a bunk feeder, fans, a cow brush, plus dry cows and a calf. It'll have video footage of actual dairy farms.
Outside the barn but still inside the Main Exhibition Hall, there'll be farm equipment in "fields" of corn and soybeans, plus cover crops and a watershed/conservation plot – on more than 75 tons of topsoil.
"We need to be out there telling our story and sharing our agriculture experiences," says Herr. "With the help of farm and agribusiness volunteers, this is a superb way to share the technology and production practices we are proud of."
Volunteers still needed
The 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 4 to 12. Volunteers still are needed to visit with spectators and answer questions about today's farming practices.
The general display seeks volunteers for two shifts each day: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to- 9 p.m. A sign-up sheet has been created through VolunteerSpot.
Dairy display work shifts are broken into 3.5 hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. Individuals, families, or company groups are welcome to volunteer. Anyone interested in volunteering to help should contact Emily Yeiser, dairy initiatives managers with the Center for Dairy Excellence, at 717-346-0849 or firstname.lastname@example.org.