A sculpture paying tribute to the history of environmental stewardship by dairy farmers, and crafted from more than 1,000 pounds of butter, was unveiled today at the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. The sculpture, sponsored by American Dairy Association North East (ADANE), highlights innovative practices to enrich the soil and reduce storm-water runoff, such as crop management, plants and groundcover near streams, streambank fencing, and manure storage facilities.
The 2017 sculpture showcases Pennsylvania dairy farmers and an agriculture industry that has high standards for conservation, with deep roots in a culture of stewardship.
"Many people care about the health of our local waters - none more so than farmers, who rely on our land and water to grow the food that we enjoy," said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "Our farmers have long recognized the important link between healthy soils, sustainable farming practices, and the quality of our waterways. When we have healthy, viable farms, we have healthy, viable watersheds. You can't have one without the other."
Redding unveiled the sculpture with the help of dairy farmer Jim Harbach of Clinton County, Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess Halee Wasson of Centre County, and sculptors Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Montgomery County. The sculptors began working in mid-December to create the 2017 edition of a Farm Show tradition that dates back to 1991.
"The butter sculpture is a creative way to showcase the dairy industry and for dairy farmers to tell their story - about the nutritious products we produce, the practices we employ, and the standards we uphold," explained Harbach, of Schrack Dairy Farms in Loganton, Clinton County. "Caring for the land, air and water we share with our communities is important to us all, so I'm pleased to be representing my fellow Pennsylvania dairy farm families today."
At the close of the show, the butter, which was donated by Land O' Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County, will be transported to a Juniata County dairy farm where it will be run through a methane digester and converted into renewable energy for the farm.
ADANE is funded by dairy farmers to promote milk and dairy products. For more information, visitwww.dairyspot.com.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation's largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 300 commercial exhibitors. According to a report issued by the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, the 2015 show had an estimated economic impact of $95 million to the south-central Pennsylvania region, supporting more than 18,000 jobs over the course of the week-long event.
The show runs January 7-13 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and January 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from nearby Interstate 81.