Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries. In fact, the state Department of Agriculture and Team Pennsylvania found that the commonwealth’s agricultural industry has a $135.7 billion annual impact, with nearly 580,000 jobs created and $27 billion in wages paid as a result of agriculture.
This impact is on full display each year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event. The 102nd Farm Show is sure to be as popular as previous ones, with hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to the more than 1 million-square-foot complex to check out the latest and greatest in Pennsylvania agriculture while looking at adorable farm animals and eating delicious food.
The event is also a perfect example of how agriculture works in tandem with other industries, such as its close relationship with natural gas. Natural gas and other energy sources are essential to heating the massive Farm Show complex, and many of the most popular food and drink items wouldn’t be possible without natural gas. Here are five examples:
For many visitors, PA Dairymen’s Association milkshakes are synonymous with the Farm Show. The milkshake stand is one of the event’s most popular food vendors, and lines are often long. Whether your favorite flavor is chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, a Farm Show milkshake will be served to you in a plastic cup, which is made from natural gas byproducts. Drink up!
Butter is for more than just for toast: It can be used to create artistic sculptures. The butter sculpture is a fixture at each Farm Show, and it is designed with a specific theme in mind. The creation is revealed with fanfare ahead of the event, and this year’s masterpiece, “Strength in Our Diversity,” highlights the career choices available in agriculture.
The sculpture is kept from melting by being continuously cooled through electricity generated in part by natural gas. Once the Farm Show is over, the half-ton butter creation will be melted in a methane digester to power a Juniata County farm, as well as homes in the area.
There are a multitude of ways to eat potatoes at the Farm Show. You can have them baked and topped with butter, deep fried into french fries or rolled in sugar as a potato doughnut. All of these options are available at the Pennsylvania Co-Operative Potato Growers stand. The fryers at the stand use propane to make some of your favorite potato treats.
Roasted almonds and pecans
The Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association stand has a variety of nuts for sale, and roasted almonds and pecans are among the most popular. The preferred source of energy for outdoor roasters? Propane.
Fried vegetables and chicken
Deep-fried delicacies at the Farm Show are more than likely powered by natural gas. Mouth-watering trays of fried chicken and lightly battered fried vegetables at the PennAg Industries Association stand are deep fried in fryers fueled by natural gas.
Enjoy all the food at this year’s Farm Show, and congrats to our friends in agriculture on another successful event!