PSU Ag Progress Days offers a variety of activities, exhibits for everyone

Penn State’s 2022 Ag Progress Days promises to provide attendees with three days of informative demonstrations, hands-on activities and engaging education for all ages. The expo begins August 9 and continues through August 11 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs in Ferguson Township, Center County. (Michael Houtz, Penn State)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s 2022 Ag Progress Days promises to offer attendees three days of informative demonstrations, hands-on activities and engaging education for all ages. The expo begins August 9 and continues through August 11 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs in Ferguson Township, Center County.

Ag Progress Days is one of the largest agricultural shows in the East, featuring nearly 500 trade and educational exhibits, crop shows, machinery demonstrations, research tours, family and youth activities, horse shows, workshops and the Agricultural Museum of Pasture. There are also many food vendors offering hot sandwiches, lemonade, ice cream, and fried food, among other delicacies.

The event typically draws up to 45,000 visitors from across Pennsylvania and beyond to get a glimpse into the science and business of agriculture. To get the most out of Ag Progress Days, it’s helpful to know about some of the major demonstrations and activities available.

Exhibition building of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences

Climate-smart agriculture, animal health issues such as avian influenza, vector-borne diseases and the spread of the spotted lanternfly will be the focus of exhibits and performances in the College of Agricultural Sciences Theater and Exhibit Building.

Native to Asia and first found in the US in Berks County in 2014, the invasive spotted lanternfly has spread to 45 counties in Pennsylvania, a region the state Department of Agriculture has designated as a quarantine. Visitors to Ag Progress Days can speak with Penn State spotted lanternfly experts, learn how to identify the various life stages of the insect, and find out how they can help contain and control lanternfly infestations.

Exhibits and theatrical presentations will also cover avian influenza, vector-borne diseases such as tick-borne Lyme disease, workforce development in agriculture, animal health protection and climate impact on pollinators. , among other topics.

In addition, representatives from the College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Undergraduate Education will be available to provide prospective students and their families with information about the College’s programs in animal, biomedical, environmental, plant, and social sciences.

the fair

With nearly 500 trade and educational exhibits and various field demonstrations and workshops, growers can walk away with new knowledge and ideas to improve their operations. Exhibitors cover all product categories including field machinery, milking systems, animal genetics, storage structures, seed, feed, tools, trailers, sprayers, mixers, housing for livestock, utility vehicles, fertilizers, fences, financial products, insurance and more.

Field demonstrations are well attended and allow potential buyers to see and compare equipment in action, such as lawn mowers, rakes and tedders, hay balers and bale handlers. New demonstrations this year include small grain combines and large square balers.

youth activities

Parents and children can learn about various 4-H programs with hands-on activities and demonstrations in the 4-H Youth Building. Activities will include exploring plant diseases under a microscope, rabbit encounters, and dairy knowledge quizzes.

Various other activities geared toward children and their families can be found on the Ag Progress Days grounds. A sunflower maze offers a fun way to learn facts about Pennsylvania agriculture. Hands-on exhibits at the Pasto Agricultural Museum will give visitors a glimpse into agricultural and rural life of yesteryear, and a butterfly tent will feature informative displays and live butterflies.

the equine experience

This year’s arena demonstrations cover various topics for all interests and levels of riding. For the first time since 2019, a six-horse hitch will return to the Equine Experience. Spring Mount Percherons, owned and shown by David and Linda Hershey of Warriors Mark, will be on site all three days.

Visitors can learn more about horse logging and restorative forestry by attending one of Bear Hill Horse Logging’s demonstrations. Bear Hill specializes in low-impact timber management, selective harvesting, and wetland logging.

Penn State equine science faculty and staff will join members of the Pennsylvania Equine Council in the Equine Exhibit Building throughout the three days of the show to answer questions and provide information on horse-related topics.

excursions

Livestock studies, pasture systems, forest management and water quality will be some of the topics that will be presented in various educational and research tours during the Agricultural Progress Days.

Most tours will transport visitors by bus to locations in and around Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center, a 2,400-acre facility where researchers from the College of Agricultural Sciences study technologies and best practices in agriculture. , conservation and natural resources. Those who can’t make it to the annual expo can still get a taste of Penn State’s agricultural research by viewing virtual tours online that are available anytime.

All Ag Progress Days tours are free and all except the Water Wellhead Safety tour require tickets, which can be obtained at the starting point at the corn manger near the top of Main Street at the show site. Most tours involve walking or standing.

Safety and health on the farm

Visitors to the Agricultural Safety Demonstration Area can learn about grain flow hazards in confined space grain storage and best practices for avoiding and responding to entrapment hazards.

Six demonstrations, at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, will show how grain flows in storage structures, as well as hazards, anchor points and best practices to prevent grain from becoming trapped and gobbled up .

On Wednesday, August 10, Farm Safety Specialists will conduct two grain bin rescue demonstrations to highlight the rescue devices and training available for first responders to properly handle grain storage incidents on the farm. These demonstrations will take place at 11:00 am and at 1:00 pm.

In the adjacent Health and Safety Country Tent, health specialists will offer carotid artery screenings, vision screenings, and health and safety information daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Crops, Soils and Conservation Area

In the JD Harrington Crops, Soils and Conservation Building, specialists from Penn State and other organizations will be on hand to answer questions about crop production, weed identification, water quality and biofuels. Visitors can ask questions about crop and nutrient management, no-tillage practices, organic farming and sustainable farming, and even bring in weeds for experts to identify.

Outside the Harrington Building, the conservation exhibit area will include demonstrations supported by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. With a focus on working farms, NRCS technical staff will have an active cattle watering system with solar-powered pumps for grazing operations; a manure storage scale model and heavy-use concrete area to address animal staging areas and manure management; and an interactive soil tunnel to demonstrate soil health.

The Pennsylvania Hay Show 2022, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, will also be held at the Harrington Building. Hay farmers can bring in samples for testing.

the family room

Open to all ages, the Family Room is located on Main Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets at the Ag Progress Days site. Several talks will be held each day, covering topics such as family kinship resources, financial education, sun protection and skin cancer, poison prevention, ticks, and stress in agriculture.

Educators from Penn State Extension’s Food, Families and Health and Food Safety and Quality teams will prepare healthy recipes and demonstrate safe food preservation techniques at home. Demonstrations will feature spinach and strawberry salad; watermelon salad with lime and ginger; Mediterranean chickpea salad; strawberry sauce; grilled corn salad with avocado and tomato; classic caesar salad; and a blueberry cream smoothie.

Patio and garden area

Experts include Penn State Extension Master Gardeners, Extension Educators, and specialists in horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology. Master gardeners from across the state will provide advice to gardening enthusiasts. There will also be presentations on container gardening, seed saving, building raised beds, winter planting, flower arranging and tomato grafting.

The flowers and plants in the garden attract and nurture large numbers of bees, butterflies, and other native pollinators. With pollinators in peril, Penn State Master Gardeners partnered with horticultural faculty members to create and nurture the gardens, located at the end of 11th Street on the exhibit site, to demonstrate that providing food and habitat for pollinators can be beautiful

There will be a viewing hive nearby, where experts from the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association and Penn State Extension will conduct honey bee demonstrations and provide guidance.

Pasto Agricultural Museum

The Pasto Agricultural Museum offers hands-on exhibits to connect visitors with its agricultural past. The approximately 1,300 items in the collection span from 4,000 B.C. C. until the 1940s, before the widespread use of electric and gasoline equipment, when agricultural and domestic work was done with the muscular power of people and animals.

Programs at the museum during Ag Progress Days will immerse visitors in thinking about food and fiber systems and natural resources. They will provide the opportunity to explore critical issues facing agriculture and the environment in a historical context.

Location, dates and times

Sponsored by the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days are held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. at 5 p.m. on August 9; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 10; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 11. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and the event can also be found on Facebook (@AgProgressDays).

–Amy Duke, Pennsylvania State University

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