About Sarabeth C. Royer

Hi! My name is Sarabeth Royer and I am a Freshman at Pennsylvania State University studying Animal Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Schreyers Honors College. I love working with animals,reading, spending time with friends and family and being outside. I live with my family on a Dairy and Poultry Farm in Lancaster County.

SAE’s and Degrees…

You know some of the history, you have read and seen our awesome outfits! (Don’t lie, you really one one of those blue corduroy jackets!) But, what REALLY is FFA?

Well, I know this is cheesy, but FFA is a family 🙂 A family that has members all over the nation, and it is comprised of four parts.

1. Awesome and Inspiring People

2. Agriculture Education

3. Career Development Events (Competitions)

4. Supervised Agriculture Experiences (SAE)

The FFA is unique, because students must be enrolled in Ag Ed to become members of FFA. Then, they take classroom instruction, opportunities in FFA, and SAE’s or work based learning, to cultivate students who are leaders and who are ready to go to college or continue with school. The agriculture education mission is : “Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems.” (National FFA Organization)

So what are SAE’s or Supervised Agriculture Experiences? These are basically projects that students do at home in order to earn degrees. This involves keeping a record book of working, or taking records of animals. It could include having a part time job at a local supermarket, or working on your family’s farm. Many students keep track of volunteer work or even create a science experiment, and keep records of that. There are basically four different categories, that can overlap, and this is how students “Learn to do” (Which is a part of the FFA motto, stated in an earlier blog)

Own and operate an agricultural business (e.g. a lawn care service, a pay-to-fish operation, holiday poinsettia production and sales.)

Get a job or internship on a farm or ranch, at an agriculture-based business, or in a school or factory laboratory.

Research and Experimentation
Plan and conduct a scientific experiment. (e.g. Determine whether the phases of the moon affect plant growth, or test and determine the efficacy of different welding methods.)

Explore careers in agriculture by attending an agriculture career fair, or creating a report or documentary on the work of a veterinarian.

Students are also able to perform SAE’s outside of agriculture, as long as they meet the time and money invested requirements, and show active participation in the FFA.

SAE projects are extremely fulfilling for students because… WE get to choose! With the help of our advisor, we can chose what project to take one.

So why, are SAE’s worth the extra work? Well, I am a little bit biased, but YES! You learn a lot, you get experience and practice keeping records, and these projects definitely teach responsibility and accountability. These projects also look great on resume’s when applying for jobs, colleges, or scholarships, and you can earn FFA degrees.

These degrees are not like a bachelor in science, or a doctorate, etc, but are like different levels within the organization. In most programs in Pennsylvania, the degrees are the following: Oh, and these degrees come with pins that students can put on their awesome FFA Jackets!

1. DISCOVERY DEGREE: (If the FFA has a middle school program)

2. GREENHAND DEGREE: (Freshman or first year members)

Chapter Degree

Greenhand Degree








3. CHAPTER DEGREE: (second year member)

4 LOCAL/COUNTY DEGREE: (in my home county, Lancaster, it is called the Red Rose Degree)

5. STATE DEGREE: (In PA it is called the KEYSTONE DEGREE, this is the highest degree the state can give)

6. AMERICAN DEGREE: (This is the highest degree available in the National FFA Organization, and is a really, really, really big deal! Only about 1/2 of 1% of students reach this level!)


Receiving a degree in the FFA takes many hours, and filing out papers,etc. But with the experiences gained and the friends made, I believe it is well worth it!

This is some of my classmates and I getting degrees at our chapter end of the year Banquet!

Have a lovely week!

-Sarabeth Royer

FFA Fashion!

Now, I cannot believe I am saying this, because I am not a very fashionable person, but let’s talk clothes 🙂  I pretty much wear jeans and a t-shirt every day, and have been known to wear boots (and not like the cute leather ones, but clunky barn ones) to class… but seriously… let’s talk clothes. I wear a lot of T-shirts with the FFA emblem on it, but what do FFA members really wear?

I also have a blue Carhartt that has my name and the emblem on it. However, this is not the traditional FFA Jacket that students wear to events, conferences, and competitions. “Official dress” AKA OD is a white, button-up collared shirt, a tie or scarf, a blue corduroy jacket, and black pants and shoes for boys and a black skirt and nylons for girls.

The FFA emblem has a lot of meaning behind it. The FFA colors are National Blue, and Corn Gold. The Eagle on the top, demonstrates how the FFA is a National Organization that reaches from the state of Hawaii to New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania to Puerto Rico. The cross section of corn (look back at the emblem, see the circle… it’s corn! Whattttt) this represents the foundation of American agriculture, and because corn is grown in every state in the nation. The words “agriculture education” are on the emblem because students must be enrolled in Ag Ed to be involved in the FFA. The plow symbolizes labor and tillage of the soil, the backbone of agriculture and the historic foundation of our countries strength. The owl, sitting on the plow, is to symbolize the wisdom and knowledge of older agriculturists and FFA advisers  or teachers. Finally, the rising sun represents progress, and holds the promise that tomorrow will bring a new day full of opportunities. (National FFA Association.)

So, these outfits may look strange by themselves, but look REALLY cool when a lot of people are wearing them! These outfits are extremely professional and actually have had only a few changes since 1933, when the first FFA Jacket was created. Some people think this is kind of ridiculous, but I think it is really cool. Some of my classmates were even able to wear their parents’ jackets!

On the front of the FFA jacket is your name, and a small FFA emblem. Fun fact, I wrote an essay for my first jacket, and got it for free from the PA FFA Alumni, it was pretty awesome.

The back of the blue corduroy FFA jacket has the state you are from on the top, a large FFA emblem in the center, and your FFA Chapter name. So, because I went to Elizabethtown Area High School, my FFA Chapter’s name is Elizabethtown. There are some really interesting ones in Pennsylvania, like Battlefield FFA (Gettysburg) Mason Dixon FFA, Grassland FFA, Troy FFA, and many more!

This is also really cool when going to National events, because then you know where people are from. At the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis Indiana, I once had dinner with someone from Alaska, South Dakota, Georgia, Florida, and Idaho. I think it is so cool that we were all gathered in Indiana for the same reason, even though we literally live in separate corners of America. However, this also lets people know you are from out of town! Ha ha, one time I was in Washington DC and this guy yelled, “hey Pennsylvania, what are you doing in DC?” It was definitely a conversation starter!

So, yeah, corduroy may be out of style for pants, but let me tell you, it’s pretty much the coolest jacket you’ll ever wear!

If you guys have any questions about FFA, feel free to ask! 🙂


National FFA Organization

As promised, a quote I learned in FFA, and love!

“Sometimes leadership is planting a seed under whose shade you will never sit.”

Have a great week guys!



Best Week of the Year

What is the best week of the year? Well, I guess it’s a tie with Farm Show in January!

Last week, to many of you, may have just been another cold, kind of wet week up here in Happy Valley. As the week after THON, things are kinda relaxed as people sleep for 30 hours straight, try to retain their hearing and voices after screaming in the BJC, and are attempting to regain feeling in their feet. It’s suddenly time to get down to the grind of schoolwork before spring break. But last week, Feb 16-23 is probably the BEST week of the year…. because… drumroll please…it marked the annual celebration of National FFA week! : )


This is also fitting because my twin sister Lindsay and I have our Birthday on Feb 16th, what a way to ring in FFA Week!

As many of you can tell by my Carhartt Jacket, and pretty much every other T-shirt I wear to class, that I LOVE THE FFA! Why, because it changed my life, seriously, check out my post from earlier this year

The Three Letters that Changed My Life; FFA

Buuut, I guess I should calm down a bit, and tell you a little bit more about this Ag Org! The FFA is a National Organization that reaches all across the United States, plus Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and even Alaska. In fact, there are now FFJ (Japan) and FFK (Korea) Organizations as well.

With over ½ a million members, the FFA, which originally stood for Future Farmers of America, is not just for farmers! It is for anyone willing to try new things, learn, work with others (and oftentimes animals) and mostly grow! The FFA strives to develop “premier leadership, personal growth, and career success,” in High Schoolers in Agriculture Education. This is through Ag classes, trips and conferences, competitions, and meeting new people. Students must be enrolled in Agriculture Education to be involved in the FFA, and to be honest, those were my favorite classes in High School. Animal Science, Ag Business, Greenhouse Management, Welding and Shop, and many others were offered at my High School. I learned a lot in Ag classes, and not just about corn plants, chicken feed, and tractor driving (legit, it happened! Everyone in class drove my schools tractor around our bus port at the High School. My class even scared away a substitute gym teacher!)  However, we also learn about team-work, leadership, communication, and skills for the workplace.

Probably the most valuable lesson I learned in High School was in my Ag Class, and it is to be willing. Willing to try new things, meet new people, help others, do something even if your scared, etc. Willing to believe in yourself even if others doubt your abilities. In my agriculture classes, the rabbits and poinsettia plants were not the only things growing. Every student has the chance to blossom in character, scholarly abilities and leadership.

The FFA Motto truly encompasses this organizations desire to help students grow.

I am so excited to tell you all about this Ag Family that has changed my life, and I hope the next time you see someone wearing any FFA Apparel, stop to ask them what it is all about! This is going to be a five part series on the FFA, including: the FFA Creed, FFA Apparel, Pennsylvania FFA Association, My experiences in the FFA, and Opportunities and Competitions within the FFA. Anyone have any preferences on what they want to read about first?


Alysha, Papa Royer, Lindsay, Mama Royer, and Me at the Pennsylvania FFA Midwinter Convention at the Farm Show. This is where students receive their State Degrees (Cool story, I was able to say Lindsay’s name as she walked on stage to get her degree!)

PS Also at the end of each FFA post, I will share a picture and a great quote I learned in the FFA!

Quote: “Forget the notion that you must be ordinary, it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.”

Have a great break guys,

Your Ag friend, Sarabeth

PS National FFA Website: https://www.ffa.org/Pages/default.aspx

Land for the Future

Population Growing = Importance for Land Conservation

While talking about population growth and the need for more arable land in the future in my International Agriculture class the other day, I realized I have neglected to tell one of the greatest agricultural stories in Pennsylvania from our lifetime! Yeah, its as big of a deal as I am making it!

Pennsylvania is number 1 in the nation for land preservation. That’s right, little old PA is on a roll. This may sound strange to you, but this is very important to not only the agricultural community, but Pennsylvania’s economy, and our future food sources. 1 out of 6 jobs in PA is related to Agriculture.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website states,
“Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The program guarantees a future food supply and contributes to a healthier economy. It also assures a way of life Pennsylvanian’s cherish will continue for generations to come. The program is a partnership between all levels of government and non-profit organizations – with a common goal of saving prime farmland.” Check out more information about Pennsylvania’s Land Conservation Practices HERE!


Here is a map from the American Farmland Trust, showing farmland that is in danger or already being developed. Check this out to learn more, Farming on The Edge.

According to the PDA Website, “Overall, Pennsylvania developed some 1.14 million acres, or 1,800 square miles, of fields, open space, and natural land between 1982 and 1997-the sixth largest such conversion after Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and California.  This equates to 209 acres per day, or 9 acres per hour, every hour (The Brookings Institution.)” Just think, 9 acres for every hour, that is a lot of land! I am happy to say that those numbers have dropped significantly due to easement programs and land preservation. Check out this article Pennsylvania Preserves More Farmland!

Unfortunately, the best farmlands that are in prime locations, close to cities, good water, quality, flat, etc., are also ideal for houses, buildings, and businesses. This idea, of a sprawling urbinization across the United States reminds me of the Native American Saying:

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

~ Ancient Indian Proverb ~

Pennsylvania is definitely making strides to preserve farmland with the more than 468,000 acres now preserved, but it is a battle that is raging across our Country. In order to feed the future and our children, we need to continue to zone land for agricultural use.


Sources: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_6_2_75292_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/OrganizationDetail.aspx?navid=34&orgid=10& http://www.farmland.org/resources/fote/states/map_pennsylvania.asp  http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0402/graphics/preserve1_lg.jpg http://www.ars.usda.gov/pandp//docs.htm?docid=18525 http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-preserves-more-than-2100-acres-of-farmland-173897601.html


The Faces of Agriculture

As in many industries, Agriculture is comprised of so many different people, jobs, and specialties. Today I would like to celebrate all of the wonderful people involved in Ag. Here are their profiles!
1) The Farmer

Description: Most often has rough and weathered hands. Hands that are used to hard work, and willing to help anyone in need. Often seen wearing jeans, boots, and a hat. Most likely very tan from being outside, and strong. Love being around plants and animals, and being outside. Are handy mechanics, patient animal caretakers, resourceful planters, and business people. After all, a family farm is a small business.

Common stereotype; farmers are only male! This is FALSE, there are many women involved in Ag.

 Quote: : “I’m proud to be a farmer and to provide the food for American families.”
2) The Animals
Description: Can have two or four legs. Sometimes make funny noises! Clucking, mooing, oinking, baaaaaing etc. Enjoy laying in the sun, and eating A LOT.

 Common stereotype; are mistreated! This is FALSE, animals are often considered as part of a farm family and are loved dearly. Animal caretakers feed their animals, make sure they are healthy, and provide adequate shelter. If you don’t believe me, animals are also economically important. So it would be very wasteful to mistreat animals, because then they would not produce as much milk, eggs, meat, etc. On most family farms (which is about 97% of all farms in Pennsylvania), animals all have names, and are treated with respect, and love. Just like my cow, Rosie that you met last semester!

Quote: “MOOOOO”


3) The Plants

Description: Love sun bathing. Enjoy water, minerals, and some good healthy dirt.

 Something you probably didn’t know:

Quote: “… “ (Silence, wind blowing through corn plants)
4) Ag Leaders and Professionals

US Secretary of Ag, Tom Vilsack

PA Secretary of Ag, George Greig

Description: May be wearing suits, and involved in public or governmental affairs, but are true Aggies at heart.

Something you probably didn’t know: The PA Secretary of Agriculture is actually a crop and Dairy Farmer from Crawford County! Secretary George Greig

Quote: “”People don’t understand rural America. Sixteen percent of our population is rural, but 40 percent of our military is rural. I don’t believe that’s because of a lack of opportunity in rural America. I believe that’s because if you grow up in rural America, you know you can’t just keep taking from the land. You’ve got to give something back.” United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack



Description: Everyday, average Americans are ALL involved in Agriculture. We eat food, wear clothing, use fuels, and then eat some more!

 Common misconception: “I don’t live on a farm, so I am not involved in Ag at all.” This is FALSE! As long as you eat, you are certainly involved in Ag. I hope you realize that farming and Ag doesn’t have to be this foreign, scary, unknown thing. As an agriculturalist, I want you all to know about what we do, every day, 365 days a year so that you have the best possible food, shelter, and clothes possible.

Quote: “ I LOVE food!” (average American student)

Ha ha I just think this picture is funny! Me tryin’ to kiss a cow… What, you guys have never done that before?

Photos courtesy of USDA, PA Dept. of Ag

So … God Made a Farmer

Holy Cow! So I don’t know about you, but I watch the Superbowl… for the commercials! And to be completely honest, I haven’t been really impressed in the past couple of years with the lineup. I mean, there are some good intentions in the punchlines, but it seems that some of the commercials were just lacking in…. I guess the WOW factor.

Well, let me tell you, I was VERY impressed with this years turnout. There was some really great acts. Here is sum of biggest Football game of the years best commercials… from an Ag-Enthusiasts opinion 🙂

3. Clydesdale Budweiser Commercial

Ok, so this is AH-dorable! The cute horse, the tough man who loves his animal, ah epic. This is such a great commercial because of the accurate and touching portrayal of the intimacy between animals and their caretakers. The scene at the end with the Clydesdale running towards the man is  priceless, and quite adorable 🙂

2. Got Milk!

So, no big deal, but this is the first time EVER that Milk has been showcased during the Superbowl! Oh my goodness, as a Dairy Farmers, my family is so excited to get this good publicity! This commercial is also really funny and very memorable, I am interested to see if the milk consumption increased at all this week. Good stuff right there. PS have you had your three servings of Dairy yet today?

1. So God Made a Farmer

WOW! This is moving! I still remember the first time I heard this poem by Paul Harvey, I cried, and I am not even ashamed to say it. Not only is the delivery of this poem and commercial incredible, but the fact that it played during the Superbowl! HOLY COW that is awesome! I am soooooo incredibly pumped about this commercial! What a positive portrayal of Ag… in today’s age… in this society… Wow, this type of commercial is rare. Dodge in conjunction with the FFA and Case, truly did an incredible job showing men, women and children farming. I have heard that in rooms across the country, rooms that had previously been loud with laughing and cheering became silent when this ad came on. The seriousness of this commercial was a risk that definitely paid off, because people stopped to pay attention. I hope that this can continue to draw consumers attention to modern Agriculture in America.

I called my Dad, after watching this commercial, and he barely had words. He was so impressed with the commercial, and also peoples response to it. He was actually milking during the end of the football game (what can I say, someone had to do it!) but my mom pulled it up on the computer for him! Paul Harvey was a very well respected radio personality in America’s Heartland. Interestingly enough, Harvey gave this poem at a National FFA Convention (I’ll talk about this in a later post) and once visited PA. He actually visited my family’s farm, and there is a picture of him with my Grandma! SO COOL!

Click HERE! to get to the Ram Trucks website. If you scroll down past the commercial you will find more information about the FFA:) As well as the more information about the movement of 2013, The Year of the Farmer. 

Some of the poem was cut out for the commercial, so here is the whole thing!

Oh man, good stuff right there, have a fantastic week guys,

– Sarabeth


Yo yo yo… Farming is COOL!

For all of you doubters out there, Farming is COOL!

So, I have been thinking a lot about advertisements, seeing as the Superbowl is coming up, and I’m wondering what makes them successful, and what hinders them. Why do we sometimes laugh so hard we are crying at those Doritos commercials, or are amazed by the beautiful Clydesdale horses in the Budweiser ads,  and other times, we are like meh, whatevs.

I have had many conversations with farmers, Ag teachers, and fellow Ag enthusiasts alike about how we need to do a better job of promoting agriculture. The truth is that a lot of consumers just don’t know what modern farming is. They trust the old farms like in Charlotte’s Web with a handful of pigs, cows, and chickens. What we need to advertise is how modern farming doesn’t have to be scary. It’s fun and exciting, innovative and also traditional, and its producing the food we all eat. It’s about time that everyone knew just how cool farming is!

Here is an advertisement from the Organic Yogurt Company, Yeo Valley in the UK. Their extremely successful commercial and advertisement campaign is accredited with dramatically increasing their product sales, and revolutionizing the name of Yeo Valley across the world!


SERIOUSLY, you guys all need to watch this, its a rap about FARMING! So worth your time! Yeo Valley Advertisement <——- So cool!


You can look up more pictures and information about Yeo Valley HERE It’s a truly incredible story. And the singers in this commercial are actual farmers! All of them are employed by Yeo Valley and routinely work with the cows and the yogurt company! Here you can look at the production of the commercial.  Making of the Video!

Some people thought that this commercial was risky, trying to depict something so “country,” as a rap. However, I personally love it. This is extremely creative, its memorable, shows modern Ag in a positive lights, and even if people don’t like it, it certainly starts a conversation!

So yeah, I knew that you all knew farming was cool! Go home an enjoy some good wholesome Diary products : )



http:// www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=wTeLGESY5tc

http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOHAUvbuV4o


A Real Princess!

A lot of girls growing up dream of being a Princess. One pictures pink dresses, lots of twirling, and a Prince.

So this is the story of how my sisters and I were crowned as Princesses!

A little girl gasps as she see’s my sisters and I in the grocery store. “Mommy, look, LOOOK it’s a real princess!” The mother smiles and nods, “great sweetie, keep up,” but as they walk past the eggs to the Dairy products section of the store, the mom stops as well. “Oh my.”

This is a typical response to consumers seeing us in our “princess get up!”  Now, as a girl more comfortable in muck boots and T-shirts, it’s a bit strange getting ready for a promotion, but it’s fun to dress up every now and then right? What girl doesn’t have a nice dress, some heels, a tiara, and a sash in the closet?

Lindsay and I in our tiaras!

Ok, so I guess I should explain this now! My family is a part of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess and Promotion Services, Inc. or PDPPS, which sounds kinda’ ridiculous, but is actually very neat. Who better to tell children to eat their 3 servings of Dairy products every day than a real life princess? And this is exactly what the PDPPS does.

We visit elementary schools to talk to children about the importance of consuming at least three Dairy products a day. This is why I can name all of the essential nutrients in milk. Which, in case you wanted to know are Protein, Vitamins A, B12, B6, and D, Riblofavin, Niacin, Thiamine, Pantothenic acid, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorous, potassium, Zinc, Selenium, and of course Calcium! Whew, that’s a mouthful. It is very important to the organization to gear some promotions to children, because drinking milk is so important to skeletal growth, and starting healthy habits. Visit here to learn more about nature’s most perfect drink! //http://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Milk-Infographic.aspx

PDPPS also visits grocery stores to talk to consumers about Dairy products, and answer any questions they have about the Dairy Industry. We can also visit popular events like the Pennsylvania Farm Show, or local events like 5-K’s or town celebrations and parades. It is a great chance to talk to consumers about all facets of agriculture, and where milk really comes from. Check out the PDPPS website at http://www.padairy.org/ Fun fact, last years alternate State Dairy Princess went to my High School!

My mom did such an incredible job taking my sisters and I to these events, and making sure that we were warm enough during parades, looked sharp and professional all the time, and made sure to answer everyone’s questions. Not to mention, she can make a mean milk punch! Sounds gross,but is actually quite delicious! Try it sometime: http://recipehelpers.com/non-alcoholic/99272-pennsylvania-milk-punch.html

Favorite questions from events: 1) Where is the Dairy Queen

2) Does chocolate milk come from brown cows?

3) Why do cows smell so much?

The craziest part is that some of these questions were asked by adults too!

Sarabeth 14 A

My sisters! Alysha, Lindsay, Jen, me and Amanda

I am retired from the life of royalty now, sigh, but guess what… I still get to tell people about how awesome milk is!

Have a wonderful day,




Wishing For a Longer Break!

Like many Penn State Students, I wish we had had just one more week of break! I mean come on, two weeks is just not enough, but you see, I wanted another week off for one reason in particular. For the… drumroll please… PENNSYLVANIA FARM SHOW!!!!!!

The second week in January to many, may seem like just an ordinary week. Just the seven days after the first week of the new year. However, to anyone who has visited the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg PA, this is a week full of wonder. A week full of learning, fun, food, animals, plants, tractors, and entertainment. This is the week that Pennsylvania Agriculture comes to the Capitol. From the famous and highly publicized Butter Sculpture to the not as well known Christmas Tree contest, the Pennsylvania Farm Show promises something for everyone.

The 2013 Butter Sculpture focused on the PA Preferred Check-off Program. Food items that have this logo signify that it was produced in Pennsylvania. The sculpture showcases typical Pennsylvania Agriculture products including milk, eggs, (ironically butter!) wine, pumpkins, mushrooms, honey, trees and more.

The Farm Show provides a showplace for farmers to see the most up-to-date farm equipment, farming practices and farming needs while also providing all visitors with an educational showcase to learn about agriculture and how the products they consume are produced. With nearly one million square feet of indoor space, the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center invites all visitors, big and small, rural and urban. Originally built in 1917, the complex was built upon agriculture, and since then has not lost touch with it’s core purpose, “to provide a valuable forum for the improvement of the state’s agriculture industry.” (PA Farm Show website) The building hosts over 200 events a year, ranging from Car exhibits to the All American Dairy Show. However, by far the most popular event is the annual Farm Show that attracts visitors of all ages from across the state and across the Nation. This incredible Show exhibits the amazing diversity of Pennsylvania’s Agriculture.

This goat just wants so say… HELLO!

Visitors can enjoy the many delicious delectables in the food court. From the famous milkshakes, and fries, to the potato donuts and mushrooms, no one leaves hungry.  Across from the food court there are many things to look at including tractors and different vendors. Up the stairs is one of the three arena’s that may throughout the week hold events such as the Rodeo, Dairy Judging, and even the Pennsylvania FFA Mid-Winter Convention. Deeper into the Farm Show Complex, there are rooms full of pens of animals to walk past and look at. Sheep, goats, steer, horses, cows, pigs, bunnies, chickens, and so much more. Visitors can wander through these barns and see the owners feed the animals, bathe them, and take care of them. Learning is fun and expected at the Farm Show, with ample opportunities to pick up informational brochures and flyers. There are also rooms dedicated to the Fruits, Vegetables, and Plants of Pennsylvania. The diversity of this Commonwealth’s Agriculture is easily identifiable by the sheer number of different plants to look at. From large orange pumpkins, to sweet red apples, from ripe green zucchini to Pennsylvania’s famous mushrooms. Not to mention the plethora of wines, honey, maple products, eggs, and nuts.  Also, visitors can look at Pennsylvania’s world renown Christmas trees! There are also ample examples of the work of youth from throughout the state. The 4-H sewing clubs with their clothes and quilts. And of course, the many FFA members showing animals in the ring, and caring for them outside the arena. It is not hard to see the diversity of Pennsylvania’s number 1 Industry, Agriculture. From tractor square dancing (yes, it exists… and it’s pretty awesome!) to Horse pulls, the second week of January is a busy one in Harrisburg. And the best part is, you can attend this show, which is the largest indoor Agricultural Event in America, for free! I hope that you can all come visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show this next year, and see for yourselves the amazing diversity of agriculture in Pennsylvania.

Here is the official PA Farm Show Website: http://www.farmshow.state.pa.us/default.aspx, feel free to check it out, and both of the pictures in this post came from here!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy all of those delectable agricultural products 🙂


Blue and White… or Green and White?

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving (and at lots of yummy agricultural products!
The topic for this week’s discussion… 4-H

So, as a child my first experience with Penn State did not involve the Blue and White, but rather Green and White. Many people have heard of the worlds largest youth organization, 4-H, but not many know that in Pennsylvania, the 4-H is greatly helped by Penn State Extension. Crazy right! So lets talk a little bit about 4-H.

Here is the Pledge,

The pledge clearly demonstrates this organizations commitment to helping others and advancing their club members. The 4-H mission includes “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.” The organization has over 6.5 million members in the United States, from ages five to nineteen, in approximately 90,000 clubs. Also, the 4-H is international, with clubs in numerous countries. The clubs vary from different agricultural fields (Dairy, Beef, Poultry, etc) to other things like sewing and photography and cooking! Neat right!

Two of my sisters and I were part of the Lancaster County Dairy 4-H Club (Also knows as the Milk Duds, ha ha) We learned about roper book-keeping, and were given opportunities like leadership positions and public speaking. Probably the biggest (and best) parts of the club was showing our calves, heifers, and cows at Fairs! Lancaster County has many local fairs, and people also showed at bigger events like the Farm Show. “Showing” a cow might sound strange to you, but basically, we find the best animal (as in not just pretty, but the most ideal cow in appearance, milk production, genetics, etc) and show them at fairs. We put a lot of time into walking our animals, making sure they are calm and willing to walk with us in a show ring. We also groom them, trim their hair, and get them all pretty for show day. Here are some pictures of us showing. Oh and Rosie, my cow you met earlier, she was my show cow : )

My Dad showing one of our cows at the Fair! 🙂

This is me and Rosie at our hometown fair, The Elizabethtown Fair!

The 4-H is a truly incredible organization. This club represents so many incredible people I know, and great memories with friends, and my family!
Check out some current stories about PA 4-H at http://extension.psu.edu/4-h/news
Have a great day! : )