2021 Pa. Farm Show will be virtual, Agriculture Secretary Redding says

By: - August 19, 2020 12:06 pm

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Pa. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding unveiled the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture. It was carved from a half-ton of butter (Commonwealth Media Services photo)

State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced Wednesday morning that the 2021 Farm Show will be held virtually as the state grapples with the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event has historically been the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, drawing thousands of visitors and highlighting the state’s $185 billion agriculture industry.

The Farm Show has never been cancelled in its 104-year history, continuing even through the disruptions of two world wars. 

“It was a tough decision,” Redding said. “We made our decision based on the risk and realities of the situation we are living in.”

Redding added that the virtual event would run Jan. 9-15, 2021 as originally planned. 

The theme for the virtual Farm Show will be “cultivating tomorrow.” Redding said the theme will highlight the interconnectedness of the agriculture food chain that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown. 

“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,” Redding said.

The food court and butter sculpture are two of the more popular exhibits at the annual Farm Show, but Redding could not say definitively if they would happen next year. 

“We are looking at what the options are given the terms we’re working with,” Redding said. 

To have a virtual Farm Show, Redding said officials would be working with the governor’s office and the Legislature to build broadband access and eliminate “pockets of pain.”

“…  Everyone has learned a little deeper what it means to have internet access,” Redding said. “It’s a great equalizer.”

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