2021 PA Farm Show to be Celebrated Virtually

Photo courtesy PA Farm Show

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation. The Farm Show alone contributes over $150 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy each year. It is held each year in January. This coming year however, it seems even the Farm Show has to adapt due to COVID-19. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced earlier today that the PA Farm Show will be celebrated virtually, with no in-person events or competitions.

“There are times in the life of a farmer when the risks are too great or uncertain, requiring farmers to make the tough decision to leave a field fallow,” said Redding. “To protect our assets – both our people and our resources – from incalculable losses, we have made the tough decision to take a year to lie in fallow. Rather than an in-person Farm Show, we will celebrate Pennsylvania agriculture virtually for 2021 as we prepare for a productive future.

“We’ll look at our strengths and where we need to invest together in order to grow and cultivate for tomorrow. We’ll consider what has become crystal clear during the pandemic – that agriculture is essential for life; our people are resilient and innovative. We will focus on agricultural awareness, education, and literacy while highlighting the interconnectedness of our food chain,” added Redding.

The department announced the theme for the 2021 virtual PA Farm Show to be Cultivating Tomorrow. Details of the virtual show will be announced as they unfold over the coming weeks. Virtual events will be focused on education and awareness for both the general public and the agriculture industry. Any competitive ag events that are held virtually will not require the purchase of an animal.

“Each year, the Pennsylvania Farm Show uses a theme to convey our vision for the future of Pennsylvania agriculture – through Cultivating Tomorrow we’ll tell this story through technology as we envision and cultivate a prosperous, thriving future together,” said Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex Executive Director Sharon Myers. “We have not lost sight of what this industry means to Pennsylvania, in fact, this pandemic has highlighted our reliance on it. The show will go on, just as agriculture has persevered.”

“For 104 years, the PA Farm Show has been a cherished tradition and pilgrimage in the lives of so many families who ventured out to see our beloved animals up close and to taste the marvelous bounty grown by our hard-working farmers. The Dairymen appreciate the gravity of the current pandemic and the difficult decision reached by the state and Farm Show officials,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, in reaction to the news.

Safety Advice for Community Gardens Amid COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA – The PA Department of Agriculture has issued guidance for volunteers and employees of community gardens to continue working, with precautions, in recognition of them being critical to the resiliency of local food systems in Pennsylvania. While this was issued from PA, it is helpful and relevant across the nation right now as we continue to live amid COVID-19.

“Community gardens are an important piece of our commonwealth’s food and agriculture system,” said Secretary Redding. “Many of these gardens in Pennsylvania fill a void and address food deserts; this guidance is critical to further curbing food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19.”

The guidance issued is in effort to protect the volunteers and employees who keep community gardens in Pennsylvania operational and includes the following:

  • Garden leadership should notify all members of new garden protocols;
  • Post signage restricting access to only those who are healthy to protect the well-being of all volunteers and employees;
  • If there is a shared tools library for gardeners, leadership should establish a protocol for sanitizing tools after each person’s use with EPA-registered disinfectants;
  • Gardeners should wear a cloth face mask and frequently wash or sanitize hands;
  • Gardeners should practice social distancing with at least six feet of separation at the garden site and avoid gatherings of people to avoid risk of exposure during off hours;
  • High contact surfaces (locks, gates, tools, etc.) should be disinfected.

“Pennsylvania’s community gardens will play a key role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19 mitigation and recovery,” added Redding. “This pandemic has brought with it a real awareness of where our food comes from, the intricacy of the system. Providing a way for the most local food sources to continue is quite literally essential.”

For a complete list of guidance documents and information as it relates to agriculture during COVID-19 mitigation in Pennsylvania visit agriculture.pa.gov/COVID. For the most accurate, timely information related to Health in Pennsylvania, visit on.pa.gov/coronavirus.

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