Inside the Farm Show’s Sale of Champions

The Grand Champion Junior Beef Steer fetched $10,500 at the Farm Show’s annual Sale of Champions.  Lindsay Upperman of Franklin County raised the two year old steer since birth.  She first noticed something special in ‘Stetson’ when he was just six months old.  “I just saw that he might actually have a little bit more, and just a little bit something different than what some of the other steers had.”  The winning bid on ‘Stetson’ came from Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, a long time supporter of the Farm Show’s Junior Livestock Sale. 

Lindsay Upperman will doubly benefit from this auction because she’s also a 2012 Farm Show Scholarship winner, and some of the auction proceeds are used to help fund the scholarship program.  Lindsay will be attending college in Kansas next year, and has her sights set on an advanced degree in genetics. 

26 Farm Show scholarships were awarded this year.  To date the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation has awarded $977,000 dollars in scholarships, and it’s expected to break the million dollar mark next year.  “All of these applicants are excellent scholars, are involved in their communities and are involved here participating in the Farm Show on an annual basis,” says Lori Connelly, a member of the Farm Show Scholarship Foundation selection committee. 

Another student on the receiving end of a $3,500 scholarship was Jacob Diamond of Fayette County.   “I’ve come to the Farm Show my whole live, ever since I was a baby,” Diamond tells us.  He’s currently attending Penn State Fayette and hopes to become a large animal veterinarian.  Diamond also showed the Farm Show’s Grand Champion Junior Market Goat, which went for $2,400 at Tuesday’s Sale of Champions.   

Agriculture Secretary George Greig tells us he’s impressed with both the quality of the youth coming out of the state’s FFA and 4-H programs.  “Without the youth, and the next generation coming on, agriculture would be out of business pretty quick.”

Apiary Products Create Farm Show Buzz

Producing honey is hard work for both the people and the bees, according to Charlie Vorisek of Crawford County, Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association.  “One pound of honey is representative of about two million flowers,” Vorisek says.  Beekeepers use a special machine to extract the honey from the wooden frames where bees build their hives.  “I describe it like a washing machine spin cycle… we spin it and the honey will fling out just like the water in your clothes.” 

PA Beekeepers are conducting honey extraction demonstrations all week long at the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show.  A variety of displays in the Main Hall help people to understand the importance of pollination, and the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association booth is always buzzing with activity in the Farm Show’s PA Marketplace

That’s where consumers go to buy pure, raw, natural honey, according to beekeeper David Anderson of Lebanon County.  “Depending on the flower that the nectar came from to make the honey you can get clover honey, alfalfa honey, buckwheat honey, wildflower honey – and there are all different flavors”    

Farm Show, Bees, Honey

In this display, the queen is marked with a green dot.

Each hive is home to just one queen.  Her job is solely to lay eggs, as presenters told one demonstration crowd that the queen must lay 2,000 or more eggs a day for a hive to be productive. 

Farm Show judges awarded prizes in more than 40 categories of apiary products – everything from three pound chunks of comb honey, to honey quick breads and candies.  Pennsylvania is home to 2,500 registered beekeepers.  Many are commercial enterprises, but officials say most are hobby beekeepers.

The Battle for Bragging Rights at the Farm Show

Farm Show week in Harrisburg is about more than world famous milk shakes and baked potatoes – it’s about blue ribbons.  Awards are earned for everything from hay to heifers. 

Kendra Brown of Lebanon County showed “Diamond,” the grand champion shorthorn female.  “What’s really cool about winning this is that her mom won too,” Brown says.  While some shorthorns are bred for beef, Brown says she likes to show, and “Diamond” will be on Breezy Acres Farm forever. 

Over in the small arena, David Christian of Iowa had the task of judging 153 swine entries.  “We’ll look at how they move, how they walk, body proportions and so on,” Christian tells Radio PA.  The Supreme Champion gilt, which hails from York County, wound up selling for $2,500 over the weekend.   

The delicious judging takes place in the Farm Show’s Main Hall, where David Hively was lucky enough to taste dozens of competing maple syrup products.  “You want the good, sweet flavor,” Hively says.  “It should not in any way have a bitter taste to it.”  Hively says it takes about 45-gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Farm Show, Maple Syrup

Laura Dengler of Crawford County won "premier exhibitor" for her maple syrup products.

The maple products, honey products, mushrooms, vegetables, apples and wine can all be found flanking the Farm Show butter sculpture.  Just a few feet away, in the Macalay Street Lobby, Larry Snyder of Mahantongo Valley Farms in Northumberland County walked away with three ribbons for his Christmas trees.  “You need real strong branching, symmetry in the tree, good leader growth and color,” Snyder explains.  “You want to pick the trees that have excellent color.” 

More judging will take place throughout the week at the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show.  On deck Monday will be open beef cattle and junior market swine.

Pennsylvania Farm Show Butter Sculpture Honors Fairs & 4-H

    Every year, it marks the unofficial kickoff of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and during the 8-day celebration of agriculture, it remains a centerpiece of the activities at the Farm Show Complex. As any loyal Pennsylvanian knows, it is known simply as “The Butter Sculpture.”

    State officials have unveiled this year’s creation, a work of sculptor Jim Victor of Conshohocken in Montgomery County. Victor began carving the nearly 1,000-pound work of art in mid-December. It depicts a 4-H member showing his prized calf at a county fair. The work is meant to be a tribute to the 4-H and the Pennsylvania Association of County Fairs, both of which are celebrating their 100th anniversaries this year. More than 5 million people attend Pennsylvania’s 113 county and local fairs each year and 125,000 youth are enrolled in 4-H.

    After the Farm Show ends, the butter will be sent to a dairy farm in Juniata County, where it will be put through a digester that will convert it into electricity.

    The 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs from tomorrow through Saturday, January 14th. Admission is free and parking is $10.