News

Young farmers in Lebanon County prepare for Pa. Farm Show

Written by John Latimer/Lebanon Daily News | Jan 7, 2016 11:54 AM
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Dylan Bomgardner, 17, (left) Jaren Bomgardner, 14, (right) move their cross bred pig to a practice show area they plan on showing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. The Bomgardners try to practice with their pigs in the show arena for 15 minutes to 20 minutes every night to prepare for showing them in competition. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

From raising hogs to sewing dresses, the young exhibitors will put their skills to the test during the next week.

(Undated) --Scores of Lebanon County young people are making final preparations in anticipation of participating and, hopefullly, winning a ribbon at this year's historic Pennsylvania Farm Show .

This is the 100th year for the event, which opens Friday at the Farm Show Complex on Cameron Street in Harrisburg. Competition begins on Saturday at 8 a.m. and will continue through Jan. 16.  For more details on events and times visit farmshow.com.

The theme of this centennial edition of the annual celebration of the state's farming heritage and agriculture industry is "The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show: Our Commonwealth's Blue Ribbon Experience."

A blue ribbon is exactly what Katie Kreider hopes to bring home when she competes in the Fashion with a Flare competition this weekend.

The 17-year-old Cedar Crest High School senior is the daughter of Tim and Tracey Kreider and should be considered a favorite because she already took first place this summer in the 4-H State Days  competition at State College and in  the "Make it with Wool" competition for the dress she will enter at the Farm Show, along with a matching wool coat she made in August.

The wins bolstered Kreider's confidence, but the humble teen who plans to study fashion merchandising in college is not counting her chickens just yet.

"I don't expect to win. But it's always a pleasure when I do," she said. "I do feel I'm a strong competitor with the girls and boys in my category."

Kreider and her 13-year-old sister Lizzie, who won a grand prize at the Farm Show last year for her coffee cake, are members of the 4-H Friends Club. The club boasts more than 60 members between the ages of 8 and 18 and about 15 are exhibiting at this year's Farm Show, organizational leader Linda Seigel said.

While many only think livestock when they hear the words Farm Show, there are also a variety of competitions that do not involve hooved animals.

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Emily Bomgardner, 18, loads up a short horn heifer they plan on showing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. (Photo: Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

On Wednesday, Seigel and her 4-H Friends Club colleague Maureen Light were packaging up about two dozen exhibits being entered into Farm Show competition by the club's members. They included baked goods, quilts, scrap booking, photo albums and other craft projects that they've been working on for nearly a year.

The anticipation among the competitors has been steadily building the past few weeks and will reach a fever pitch when they go to the Farm Show, Seigel. These days the results are often available online, but many go to the event not knowing how the fared, she said.

"Having been a parent to one of those kids and having been one of those kids myself long ago, there is something about going in when you don't know where they displayed your thing," Seigel said. "I think the most exciting thing is when you are looking for your item and you can't find it and then someone points out that is over on the Best of Show display. I've heard several stories like that."

As a sewing project leader, Seigel has known Kreider since she started sewing as a nine-year-old, and has high hopes she will come away with a top prize for her wool dress and coat ensemble.

"She is very poised when she presents," she said. "Not just sewing but also the wearing of it, the modeling."

Seigel's counterpart with the Lebanon County 4-H Livestock Club is Deb Tice, an employee of Penn State Cooperative Extension who said more than 30 members of that club will be exhibiting in the Farm Show's junior market exhibition.

"About 20 of them are showing pigs, nine are showing lambs, a couple are showing goats and a handful are showing steers," she said.

The goal of each of them is to sell their animal at a premier price, Tice said.

"First you have to make the weight with market animals. Then you want to make a sale," she said. "You definitely want to get in the selling class or otherwise you will get regular market price."

The competition is stiff, Tice said.

"It's like buying a lottery ticket," she said. "You never know what is going to happen. You have control of your animal and how its raised. But you can't control what everybody else has, you just hope you sift out on top."

The market livestock competition can be bittersweet for some competitors who have grown fond of their animals, Tice noted.

"To showcase a market animal is a long project. It takes time and effort and you have cared for those animals for about a year, so the kids can get very close," she said. "But the market animals, once they go to the Farm Show, they don't come back."

The ultimate goal, however, is to have your animal named the champion of its class.

"If you can win a class or win a breed or something, that is definitely a great achievement," Tice said.

Jeff Bomgardner's three kids - 18-year-old Emily, 17-year-old Dylan, and 14-year-old Jarrod -- have each been involved in the 4-H Livestock Club since they were eligible to join at age 8. Over the years they've tasted success and the Annville farmer is hoping for another good showing this year.

The junior market swine competition is Monday but the family will be taking their hogs up on Sunday, Bombgardner said.

"They've been doing it since they could join and we have yet to miss one," he said. "We've had Yorkshire Champions once or twice and also one in the lightweight (class). We've been pretty successful. If we make the sale we consider that a successful year".

The 4-H Friends Club and Lebanon County 4-H Livestock Club are always looking for new members and adult volunteers. Any young people ages 8 to 18 as of Jan. 1 are eligible. To contact the 4-H Friends Club call 717-274-1197. To contact the Lebanon County 4-H Livestock Club call 717-270-4391.


This article comes to us through a partnership between WITF and Lebanon Daily News.

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