Goat at farm show

A Boer Goat kid looks out from its pen at the Pennsylvania Farm show in this 2017 file photo.

The farm show is back with annual favorites and new features.

The 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show opens to the public Jan. 6, and runs through Jan. 13.

More youth than ever will show off their skills at the 102nd annual show, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which hosts the event.

Lancaster County residents — 129 of them — are signed up to participate in 500 exhibitions, according to the agriculture department.

“Whether you're visiting from around the corner or across the country, we are honored to have you as our guest at the nation's largest indoor agricultural expo,” said Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding in a letter about the farm show.

Here are three new or noteworthy events.

Growing hemp industry

The fast-growing hemp industry in Pennsylvania will make its presence known at the farm show with an exhibit by the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council.

Last year was the first year that industrial hemp could be grown legally in Pennsylvania.

Hemp may have been on display at the farm show before it was outlawed in the 1930s, according to department of agriculture spokeswoman Shannon Powers. The council had a minimal presence at the 2017 farm show, but this year, hemp will be much more prominent, Powers said.

The council plans to have a 50-foot display to showcase the past, present and future of hemp. It will be located in the Main Hall. The display will feature authentic hemp mill stones, a hemp break, a hemp bale and seed pressing demonstration.

‘Green farming’ display

Powers highlighted a new area called “Diversity on Display” in the Expo Hall. The display includes a stream bed and model of no-till and cover crops, which are increasingly popular methods used by farmers to produce cleaner water and healthier soil, she said.

“These 'green farming' methods are very popular in Lancaster County, among both large farming operations using hi-tech, high-horsepower equipment, but also adapted for use by the Plain Sect farmers for actual horse-powered equipment,” Powers said.

Visitors can talk with farmers about how they are caring for the environment and improving the quality of crops.

“You may be surprised by how innovative the Plain Sect farmers have been in adapting green farming to their way of life,” she said.

STEM careers

Agriculture STEM careers will be highlighted Jan. 8 for “Ag Careers Day.” The Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit is sponsoring school groups to attend, according to agriculture department spokeswoman Shannon Powers.

Activities during the day include visiting the “Calving Corner” to watch a live calf birth.

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