1,000-pound butter sculpture showcases diversity of PA agriculture

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

HARRISBURG — A sculpture made from more than 1,000 pounds of butter and showcasing the diversity of Pennsylvania agriculture exhibited throughout the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show was unveiled Thursday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

The sculpture, sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, has been a staple of Pennsylvania’s Farm Shows since 1991. The sculpture pays tribute to the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show and the state’s agriculture industry. It depicts the many commodities grown and produced within Pennsylvania with a blue rosette ribbon, while capturing a show enjoyed by all ages: an FFA member exhibiting her dairy cow, along with a 4-H member with his baby chicks, a lady and gentleman showing off their blue ribbon apples and pies, and a quilt and spinning wheel behind them. These features are surrounded by the words “100th PA Farm Show” as a blue and gold centerpiece.

“For the past 100 shows, the Pennsylvania Farm Show has provided an opportunity for exhibits to display the best of the state’s agriculture industry and for visitors to learn more about how their food goes from the farm to the shelf,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Whether you’re enjoying your first Farm Show milkshake, displaying your best sewing work, or exhibiting your prized animal, everyone has their own blue ribbon experience at the Farm Show.”

The eight-day show is themed, “Our Commonwealth’s Blue Ribbon Experience.”

Redding added that this show is not only a labor of the state Department of Agriculture. It is only through the partnerships and support of organizations, vendors, volunteers, visitors and exhibitors that a show of this magnitude is possible, showcasing the state’s rich agricultural tradition.

Redding unveiled the sculpture with the help of  Farm Show exhibitor and dairy farmer Debbie Cornman of Cumberland County,  Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess Savannah Zanic of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania FFA President Lily Guthrie of Perry County, Pennsylvania 4-H President Courtney Walter of Cumberland County and sculptors Jim Victor and Marie Pelton.

“As a family, we always enjoy interacting with the public to talk with them about dairy farming and dairy products,” said Cornman, who shared her blue ribbon experience during the butter sculpture unveiling. “We let the children pet the cows, and we usually get a crowd when we milk the cows. This is a great opportunity to promote the dairy industry.”

Crafted by Victor and Pelton of Conshohocken, Montgomery County, the butter sculpture creation begins in mid-December and is finished in time for the Farm Show. Victor also creates sculptures using chocolate and cheese.

At the close of the show, the butter, which was donated by Land O’ Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County, will be given to a Juniata County dairy farm.

The butter will be put through a methane digester, where it will be converted into renewable energy for the farm.

Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program are funded by dairy farmers to promote milk and dairy products. For more information, visit www.dairyspot.com

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits, and 300 commercial exhibitors. According to a report issued by the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau, the 2015 show had an estimated economic impact of $95 million to the south-central Pennsylvania region, supporting more than 18,000 jobs over the course of the week-long event.

The show runs Jan. 9-15 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from nearby Interstate 81.