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8/10/2013 7:00 AM

To Take the Whole <\n>Family to Ag Progress Days

A family visit to Ag Progress Days is a great way to wrap up your summer as the new school year approaches. There are activities for all members of the family. The adults will be drawn to the displays of equipment, technology, goods and services that drive the state’s agricultural economy. The event will feature nearly 500 exhibitors and a variety of field demonstrations, giving agricultural producers a marketplace where they can learn, shop and compare, according to Bob Oberheim, Ag Progress Days manager.

Commercial exhibitors will display virtually every product category, including field machinery, milking systems, animal genetics, storage structures, seed, feed, tools, trailers, sprayers, mixers, livestock housing, utility vehicles, fertilizers, fencing, financial products, insurance and more.

Oberheim noted that a popular feature of Ag Progress Days among farm operators is the field machinery demonstrations. “These demos give visitors the chance to see how equipment from different manufacturers performs under real-life conditions,” he said.

Mini golf, food demonstrations, identification kits for children, the dangers of texting and driving, and a talking robot all will be showcased in the Family Room building. Healthy lifestyles food demonstrations will be offered hourly so food enthusiasts can observe healthful recipes being prepared. Attendees can gather serving ideas, taste the resulting fare and receive copies of the featured recipes. Information will be available about home food preservation and safety.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “My Plate” — the replacement for the Food Guide Pyramid that guides consumers toward healthy eating — will be featured prominently in the food demonstrations.

A new exhibit sure to be of interest to many Family Room visitors is “Stay Alive — Don’t Text and Drive!” Sponsored by Penn State University Police, the hands-on exhibit allows teenagers to experience texting and driving and to see the consequences.

There will be plenty of activities and learning for young visitors as well. At the 4-H Youth Building, the focus will be insects and robotics. An insect exhibit with live displays will enable kids to learn about insects, hold them in their hands and discover the subject of entomology.

The building also will showcase several robots built by 4-H members from across Pennsylvania. Penn State Extension 4-H programs in most counties offer a robotics project, and many of the members have competed in national competitions.

Several other exhibits in the 4-H Youth Building will include live animals. The Pennsylvania Rabbit Association will feature Angora rabbits and teach young people how to utilize wool from the animals by weaving and using a loom.

The Penn State poultry science program will showcase baby chicks and the incubation process, while dairy princesses — young ambassadors for the dairy industry — engage youth in activities related to healthy diets include dairy products.

Sponsored by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College, Pa., on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the APD website: http://agsci.psu.edu/apd. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event at http://www.facebook.com/AgProgressDays.

To Study Grain Markets

Extension Educator John Berry recently attended the national meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and supplies the following report. This event is an annual gathering of agriculture economic professors, Extension specialists, graduate and undergraduate students, and others.

At the meeting, Chad Hart with Iowa State University, Dan O’Brien from Kansas State University and Gary Adams of the National Cotton Council provided their perspectives on 2013-2014 marketing scenarios.

O’Brien is looking for a large corn crop that will reduce the trend of the past two years to feed large amounts of wheat. This, in turn, lowers wheat price bids as it makes more wheat bushels available to millers. Looking at futures, he sees a small carry from now through fall 2014. He is asking producers to consider pricing all 2013 wheat now and also consider buying PUTS on their 2014 crop.

Hart presented on both corn and soybeans. As for corn, concerns are the return of demand, if the eastern Corn Belt can make up for losses elsewhere and will the northern Corn Belt have a killing frost before a late crop matures. He commented that the corn market has waited two years for supply to catch up with demand and concluded with “corn has had a great five year run” noting current USDA harvest projections and CME harvest bids are near breakeven.

Hart’s comments on soybeans centered on the financial health of China as they are 60-70 percent of the export market for U.S. beans and any decrease of demand would be noticed. He feels that even with expected losses in north central and north western Iowa we are looking at a record soybean crop in 2013 and asked us to “think 2007 prices with harvest lows slowly building into spring.” He noted that the historically strong basis, even in Iowa, has backed off and is not expected to return soon.

Quote of the Week

“An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

Leon Ressler is district director of Penn State Cooperative Extension for Chester, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.


Given the prolonged winter, have you been able to do any of your spring planting?

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  • No
  • Almost

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4/24/2014 | Last Updated: 2:45 AM