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Friday, October 10, 2014

PA Dept. of Agriculture News

Oct. 10, 2014
Message from George Greig
Secretary of Agriculture
The ag industry has been built by visionaries – people who start small, think big, and leave this world better than it was. It’s been built by hard workers, who have vowed to make a better life for the next generation. It’s been built by good people like Senator Michael Waugh. His passing Wednesday left a void at the Farm Show Complex, the capitol and at Mike’s York County draft horse farm, but his legacy of public service lives on through the ag shows he worked tirelessly to strengthen, every piece of state legislation that has improved ag, the fire company and community he loved, and everywhere there’s a draft horse hitched. He was a visionary, a leader, a friend, a family man. He embodied the best of ag, the best of a citizen-statesman. Mike left PA a greener place, and it’s up to our children, and their children, to learn from his quiet leadership. I speak for many who have worked with him at our department when I say our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s wife Wanda, son Joseph and his countless friends across the state. Our friend and colleague will be missed.

Supremes Selected, Hitches Honored in KILE Shows
The 58th Keystone Internat'l Livestock Expo wrapped up eight days of action Sunday afternoon. From the selection of supreme beef, hogs, and sheep to the action of the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series and the horse pulls that followed it each evening, show action took place in four rings across the complex. Juniors dressed in their best wool attire and presented their sheep at the Keystone Leadline Contest, three beef exhibitors received $1,000 scholarships and other youth evaluated livestock and more.

PA Receives $1 Million in Federal Specialty Crop Grants
Twenty PA projects were awarded nearly $1,045,000 in federal grants to increase the visibility and market share of the state’s produce, nursery, horticultural and nut products. The federal grants are part of USDA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, authorized under the federal Farm Bill. They address a range of ag industry priorities, including food safety, marketing, nutrition and sustainability.

Sec. Greig Teaches Centre Co. Kids About Local Food
Radio Park Elem. School students today learned the benefits of consuming locally produced and PA Preferred™ food during lunch with Sec. Greig. He joined students, farmers, bakers and school garden coordinators in State College, Centre Co., to tour the elementary school’s garden and shared with students the importance of local ag in building a strong community. October is Nat'l Farm to School Month.

Three PA Food Banks Win in Wal-Mart Donation
Pennsylvanians helped three of their food banks receive a share of a $3 million nat'l donation by voting for their favorite Feeding America-affiliated orgs in Wal-Mart's Fight Hunger, Spark Change initiative. The Central PA Food Bank of Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., placed 39th with 4,506 votes; the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer Co. in Sharon, Mercer Co., placed 45th with 4,443 votes, and the Greater Berks Food Bank of Reading, Berks Co., placed 47th with 4,432 votes.

PA Senate Passes Three Ag Bills Wednesday
Three bills are on track to benefit ag following PA Senate votes Wednesday. HB 1440, ready for Gov. Corbett's signature, specifically exempts structures used in seeding and growing those products from building code requirements. HB 1550 consolidates several DCED grant and loan programs, some available to ag producers, into one application process, and will go to the PA House of Representatives for a concurrence vote. HB 2092 aligns the state transportation law with federal changes related to ag implements of husbandry.

Did You Know?
The cargo capacity of sailing ships was estimated in “tons burthen,” using a formula involving the ship’s maximum beam and length to estimate the capacity in long tons – 2,240 pounds. If Christopher Columbus were to celebrate October Pork Month this weekend by transporting the estimated 517.8 million pounds of pork produced in PA in 2011 using the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, he’d have to make 1,014 trips.

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