Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, August 22, 1998, Image 32

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    A32-tancaster Farming, Saturday, August 22, 1998
Lancaster Fanning Staff
Co.) Several new displays
were made this week during Penn
State University’s College of Agri
cultural Science's annual Ag Prog
ress Days, held at the College’s
1,500-acre research farm in
Rockspring, a short distance from
State College.
The Ralph E. Larson Research
Farm, donated by the owner, is part
of the research acreage, and has
been the site of the Ag Progress
Days event for a number of years.
The research site maintains the
original bam, farmhouse and com
crib, although they are used for
offices, grounds maintenance and
equipment storage during most of
the year.
Once a year they become the
headquarters, research tour bus
departure site and media center for
the throngs of visitors who come to
see the latest in technological
advances and research findings
from the College of Agricultural
A several-acre tent and perma
nent building mini-city has
evolved out from the farmhouse to
serve as temporary home for rep
resentatives of various commercial
agricultural equipment, machinery
and related industries.
State agencies, such as the state
Department of Agriculture, also
have maintained display space
during Ag Progress Days, as well
In the new greenhouse facility, Tom Doman, on the right, with Penn State Universi
ty, talks about irradiation to a visitor to Ag Progress Days.
a ? SWer q “** tlon ? from A S Progress Days visitors on plant pathology
and other growing problems, involving fertility, predation, infections, and more!
Progress Adds Several New Demonstrations
as sub-agencies, such as its Bureau
of Weights and Measures.
While change can seem to hap
pen slowcly at the Ag Progress
Days event for those who visit
ycar-after-ycar, organizers have
been aware of the need to prevent
display from becoming static and
Especially in the past 10 years
the event has grown in its outreach,
appealing to various audiences,
such as youth as well as to those in
emerging agricultural production
Available arc experts and infor
mation on various issues, not only
the latest findings applicable to
pesticide applications, manure
handling, composting, soil tillage,
seeding, harvesting, storage and
general farm safety.
This year, the state Department
of Agriculture expanded its dis
play to become more aggressive in
attracting an audience to hear its
message of promoting markets and
uses of the state’s agricultural
commodities and products.
A large canvas wall tent was
erected this year with displays and
a stage.
Along the back wall of the tent
was the stage, and the stage back
drop was a large display of PDA’s
new logo, unvicled Wednesday by
state Gov. Tom Ridge.
The new logo is to be used for
everything concerning the depart
ment, according to state Agricul
ture Secretary Samuel Hayes Jr.
In addition to serving for a logo
unveiling ceremony, the PDA
stage was used by young country
singing sensation Crystal Marie, a
now-12-year-old rural Pennsylva
nia girl who started performing
close to home at fairs, and in the
past year or more, has been per
forming statewide. Using taped
accompianment, she performed at
the Farm Show, at the first PDA
Farm-City activity day at the PDA
Building in Harrisburg, and at
many fairs this year across the
Hayes said that for the depart
ment to promote the state’s agri
cultural products, it can’t afford to
be timid in grabbing the attention
of the public and consumers. Crys
tal Marie seemed to prove her
worth during performances Tues
day in attracting a crowd to the
new PDA tent
Another wall of the new PDA
Ag Progress tent (the entire wall in
fact) was adorned with the depart
ment’s new logo to promote the
consumption of Pennsylvania
raised produce: “Pennsylvania
Produce, Simply Delicious.”
That new logo was unveiled
recently by the department and is
now on many billboards at strateg
ic locations in the state.
Another new display was the
College’s Animal Science’s
“greenhouse” facility, which pro
vided an educational showcase for
modem livestock production tech
nology. A cow was on display
One of several displays of diseased plants and possible
causes of symptoms is next to a video player running an
educational tape on plant insects produced by Penn State,
“Insects and Spiders and Mites, Oh My!” It is for sale
through the College of Agricultural Sciences. Help locating
a copy should be available through a local Penn State
Cooperative Extension office.
inside the greenhouse, lined with
displays involving such topics as
irradtiation of meats, Johne’s Dis
ease, etc.
Experts were also on hand to
provide answers on daily and
swine production, as well as other
related topics.
A cut flower demonstration plot
was on display for the first time,
highlight various cut flower spe
cies and varieties, highlighting the
College’s role in helping to test
variety performance, raising tech
niques and disease prevention.
In another unveiling, the Pen
nsylvania Farm Bureau held a
ceremony to formally recognize its
permanent structure in the Ag
Progress Days city, replacing a
tent structure that the PFB has long
The existing booths and display
tents continued to be popular with
the visitors, especially the “Ask
The Experts” tent, a coordinated
effort where entomologists and
plant experts were on hand to
answer questions one-to-one with
While the experts sat facing in at
a long table along one wall of the
tent, the other walls of the tent had
actual displays of diseased plants
and laminated cards listing the
possible causes of the symptoms.
Also on display was a video tape
prepared by the College on plant
insects (bcneflcials and problem
causers), identifications, activities,
and problems and potential
The three-day Ag Progress Days
event also offered a variety of
research tours involving some con
tinuing tours into demonstration
projects involving manure hand
ling, composting, and wetlands
and stream corridor management,
forest stewardship, etc.
While some of those tours have
not changed name or topic over the
years, they arc always
with some new information and
The general research tour
offered every year provides an
overview of the grounds and the
activities taking place.
While the bus for the general
tour didn't make any stops on its
circuit through the research
grounds, the taped recording that
was coordinated with the bus ride
not only discussed the various
types of ongoing and new research
on the grounds, but several times
the mention of the nutrient “pho
sphorus” was made in respect to
conservation and efficiency con
siderations with tillage, global
information system (CIS)
(CIS research at Penn State was
introduced at last year's Ag Prog
ress Days. Then it was primarily
concerned with soil fertility map
ping and was tractor-mounted for
use in planting, fertilizing and
harvesting. It was mentioned dur
ing the general research tour as a
possible backpack technology to
be used during field scouting for
pests in order to conduct precision
pesticide applications.)
Out of the 1,500 acres of agri
cultural land included in the
Rockspring area, only about SO
acres are suitable for small plot
research. However, just about
every square foot is targeted for
some kind of ongoing research,
and even those fields not currently
serving as host of an ongoing pro
ject, in many cases are also studied
for other concerns, such as weed
control, soil nutrient movement
and depletion compared to crop
species, etc. •
•From small fruits to tree fruits,
potatoes and tomatoes and early
and late blight, training systems
for traditional tresseled plants and
for non-traditional plants (such as
apples, the Penn State apple
hedgerow system, for example),
the research plots contain a variety
of different study projects.