Protecting animal agriculture in the U.S. has been made a priority issue by many agribusiness enterprises in Pennsylvania and nationwide. It is necessary to improve the understanding of modern agriculture from farm to consumer and among educators, decision makers and opinion leaders. Much of the research and data available of the public opinion on animal agriculture indicates that regular consumers just want to know that their food is safe, that it was raised in a way that was humane to the animal, and that its production did not harm the environment.
In 2008, PennAg, the Pennsylvania Pork Producers Council and Pennsylvania egg farmers made a calculated gamble based on this information and constructed a sow/litter display and caged layer exhibit at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. The exhibits became two of the most popular and were frequently viewed by the 400,000 people who visit the Farm Show. The vast majority of visitors took no issue with the crate or cages, but instead was intrigued by the up-close look at modern agriculture. By showing the public our industry production practices, we took away the biggest argument anti-agriculture groups, like HSUS, have: that we won’t allow the public see how their food is produced.
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Livestock Care and Well-Being and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PennAg Industries Association will coordinate the construction of the first all-inclusive animal and modern agriculture exhibit in America, to be unveiled for the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
The exhibit, themed “Today’s Agriculture – Opening Doors: Farming, Knowledge, Trust,” will be located on 10,000 square feet of space in the Main Exposition Hall and will be a focal point of the 2012 Pennsylvania Farm Show. The exhibit will feature a look at the inside of modern livestock barns in Pennsylvania. A modern building will be erected to provide definition and a backdrop of each livestock exhibit will feature a real-life illustration depicting the outside of the particular barn.
The outside of the exhibit will feature other modern agriculture exhibits including greenhouse raised plots of soybeans, alfalfa, and corn, as well as the largest and most sophisticated planting, spraying and harvesting equipment, utilizing GPS technology.
A formal reception to unveil the Today’s Agriculture display will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The display will then be active for the duration of the Pennsylvania Farm Show for attendees to visit and gain a better understanding of modern production agriculture. PD
—From PennAg news release