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Friday, December 26, 2014

PA Dept. of Agriculture News

Message from George Greig
Secretary of Agriculture
December is a month of major changes, where long nights and freezing temperatures arrive and stay, winter officially arrives, and when 2015 PA dog licenses are ready to be placed on your best friend’s collar. We officially kicked off the 2015 dog licensing campaign last Friday with a stop at Scotland Elementary to congratulate fifth grader Madison Ogden as our grand prize winner of the PA Dog Licensing Poster Contest. Her winning artwork does a nice, clear and colorful job of pointing out the importance of licensing your dog, since the license is his ticket home. We transformed it into the cover of The PA Dog License Coloring Book, which will be distributed to youth statewide. Other finalists’ posters are featured inside the book. They carry the simple message – license your dog, because not only is it the law, it’s the best way to ensure he makes it back home. A license is easy. The application is simple and only requests owner contact info and details about the dog being licensed like name, age, breed and color. An annual dog license is $8.50, or $6.50 if the animal is spayed or neutered, which is cheap insurance of a homecoming if he gets lost. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs with a permanent ID like a microchip or tattoo. Older adults and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts. When I head home this weekend, I’m swinging by our county treasurer’s office to pick a license up for Max. There’s no reason not to.

Careful language, equal standards and sound science should be applied to four Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) draft rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sec. Greig submitted comments on Monday after FDA released its second revisions of the proposed rules. He requested they carefully revise the definition of 'farm,' cover produce auctions and markets under the produce safety rule, conduct more ag water research before setting a standard, reduce the burden on agribusinesses, apply all rules equally, and ensure equality in standards for foreign and domestic producers alike.

Young Detectives Can Investigate New FS Stations
Three new learning stations strengthen the 2015 PA Farm Show's Farm Show Detectives program, which helps young explorers investigate PA ag. Visitors can get maps stamped at each station and turn in the maps for the chance to win a year's worth of Turkey Hill ice cream and other treats. The 29 stations feature 4-H, alpacas, apples, beef and veal, bees and honey, beetles and bugs, the butter sculpture, dairy, dogs, edible nuts, the env't, farm eqpm't, goats, horses, local food, logging horses, maple, mushrooms, pigs, poultry, rabbits, sheep, vegetables, vet medicine and the WoodMobile. 

Bring Antique Tractors for Wed. of 2015 PA Farm Show
Farm equipment enthusiasts can display their vintage iron in the ninth Antique Tractor and Engine Show at the Farm Show. Entries are open to any restored wheel and crawler tractors built before 1975 as well as antique farm trucks and stationary gas engines and original tractors in good condition. Space is limited to 100 entries, on a first-come, first-served basis. Entry and parking is free for all exhibitors. Call 717-738-2573.

Nearly $232,000 in Grants Help PA Farm-to-School Food
Three recipients will use a combined $232,000 in federal grant funding to expand farm to school programs that source local products for school lunches. The Northern York Co. School District received $99,940 to connect producers with 42 schools and nearly 25,000 students across three counties, Common Market Philadelphia Inc. received $93,600 to provide more than whole and sliced and packaged local apples to 14,700 students at 18 Philadelphia public charter schools, and The Food Trust received $38,443 to convene a Mid-Atlantic regional farm to school conference.
Lumberjacks, Lumberjills Demo Logging Events at FS
Watch a new exhibition of lumberjacking events like axe throwing; crosscut sawing; springboard, standing and underhand chops; and the hot saw by the PA Professional Lumberjack Organization at the 2015 PA Farm Show. They’ll demonstrate multiple wood harvesting techniques and horse-drawn logging on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m. in the Large Arena. Horse-drawn logging demos will also be held through the week.

Did You Know?
PA is home to 1,360 Christmas tree farms – second-most in the nation – growing trees spread across 31,577 acres.

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