1/12/2013 7:00 AM
By Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade Special Sections Editor
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett used his annual agricultural update to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the state’s farmland preservation program and his administration’s accomplishments at the opening ceremonies of the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show.
“Every one of (our residents) are dependent on the 6,200 farm families in Pennsylvania,” Corbett said. “One in seven jobs are directly related to agriculture, and of course, everyone needs to eat.”
He challenged the audience, saying Pennsylvanians must not forget where they came from.
“Every farm is a piece of history we can’t get back,” Corbett said. “You never hear of anyone tearing down a shopping mall to build a farm.”
More than a half million farmland acres have been preserved in Pennsylvania, but Corbett said the program is about more than preserving farms. It also is a part of the state’s economic plan moving forward.
Farms are asset-intensive operations, and Corbett said the elimination of the state’s estate tax on farms is designed to help families transition farm businesses from one generation to the next.
Recognizing members of the General Assembly present, he thanked them for passing the agricultural transportation bill that he signed into law this fall to allow easier movement of modern agricultural equipment on township and state roads.
Corbett said he would continue to fight for a bright future for agriculture, supporting policies that create market opportunities and for sound government.
Agriculture Secretary George Greig called the Farm Show “a celebration of Pennsylvania Preferred with the best livestock, produce and handmade goods” on display.
“When you buy Pennsylvania Preferred products, made and grown in Pennsylvania, it makes a difference to local farmers, communities and our future,” he said.
Greig reflected on the exposition heritage of Pennsylvania. The first show was held in Harrisburg in 1917. At its core, he said, the Farm Show has remained unchanged from its humble beginnings, and the tradition of farmers attending “to see what the best agriculture has to offer” continues.
Greig asked the audience to continue the state’s commitment to Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products. He said purchasing Pennsylvania-produced products is an investment in local farms and industries.
Jim Tucker, president of the International Fairs and Expositions Association, attended this year’s Farm Show to present the President’s Choice Award honoring the Today’s Agriculture display to Corbett.
The display, spearheaded by PennAg Industries Association, gives Farm Show visitors a realistic look at modern agricultural production practices.