ROCK SPRINGS - The annual Penn State Ag Progress Days, set for Aug. 17 to 19, is just as important for professionals as it is for consumers, Manager Bob Oberheim said
"We all have a stake in the production of food, fiber and energy and the conservation of our soil, water and forests," Oberheim said.
More than 400 commercial exhibitors are expected with interactive educational exhibits, guided tours and workshops, as well as information on agricultural research, extension programs, food safety and ways to enhance agriculture.
Mirror file photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Collin Harnish, 3, of Washington Borough, Lancaster County, stares at a Hereford cow at the 2009 Ag Progress Days.
Rick Shaffer of R&S Paso Finos farms in Meyersdale and Somerset shows off his horse at the 2009 Ag Progress Days.
Ag Progress Days attracts big crowds, such as the one last year on Main Street on Wednesday afternoon.
This year's event will be a mix of returning field machinery demonstrations such as hay mowing, baling and bale handling, as well as new demonstrations including horse-drawn no-till planting equipment.
Equine events, such as the Leon Wintermyer Inc. six-horse hitch of Percheron, will provide entertainment, and the Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Patrol will present a demonstration of police horse abilities and crowd control.
One of the health and safety topics during the event will be a discussion on hazards of confined-space manure storage and how to reduce risks in entering those areas on Aug. 17 and 19. Farm-accident simulations will take place Aug. 18 at the end of West Eighth Street.
If you go
What: Ag Progress Days
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 17; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 18; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 19
Where: Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Free shuttle bus service will be offered between the site and downtown State College.
Cost: Admission and parking are free.
For more information: http://apd.psu.edu.
"Farmers won't want to miss the manure pit ventilation demonstrations," Dennis Murphy, distinguished professor of agricultural safety and health and farm-safety area coordinator, said.
Near the farm safety area, at the end of West Sixth Street, a variety of health screenings and medical services will be offered throughout the three-day event, including vision and blood pressure readings, skin cancer screenings and tetanus shots.
A Crops, Soils and Conservation tent will have information on crop management, professor of weed science Bill Curran said.
"Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance will be on hand to answer questions about no-till, establishing and managing cover crops, adjusting and outfitting your planter or drill and helping you be a more successful no-till farmer," Curran said.
The Master Gardeners will be at their usual 11th Street site to discuss the importance of pollinators and to emphasize the importance of gardens as their food and habitat. There will be three large gardens around the display tent, as well as additional plantings along the street that will feature teaching materials on honey bees, Molly Sturniolo, coordinator for master gardeners in Centre County, said.
"We're really talking about gardening for pollinating, by planting flowers to attract pollinators and putting in host plants to have butterflies reproduce a garden," Sturniolo said.
Mya Rushton, project development specialist and coordinator for the 4-H Youth Building, said not only is there a lot for adults, but there will be plenty of fun for young guests.
"We want visitors to take away a sense of excitement," Rushton said of kids' exhibits. "The goal is to learn by doing."
Several kid-friendly activities will be sponsored by 4-H, Future Farmers of America, the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Promotions Services and several academic departments. The Family Room building, on Main Street between West Eighth and Ninth streets, will feature displays on healthy eating and lifestyles.
Family Room events will "strengthen families by providing them with practical information on many aspects of family life," building coordinator and agriculture professor Matthew Kaplan said. "We are showcasing some of the best our college and educational efforts have to offer."
For a list of other tours available, visit apd.psu.edu.
Mirror Staff Writer Wendy Zook is at 946-7520.