Everything You Need to Know About Farm Show


Farm Show is defined as “an annual agricultural exposition celebrating Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry;” agriculture is the science or practice of farming. However, the concept that ag is entirely about farming is a myth. The USDA states that “in 2020, there were 19.7 million full and part time jobs that were related to the agriculture and food sectors.” Agriculture, FFA, and 4-H have a substantial impact on people’s lives. 

Derry Area High School is provided the facility to host a FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter. Those who take any classes in ag are inherently part of the FFA. Therefore, whenever events like Farm Show happen, they’re allowed the opportunity to explore the agriculture industry further. This year, Farm Show was held from January 8th through January 15th. The Mid Winter Convention was held on the 10th- we went then. During Mid Winter Convention, the Pennsylvania agriculture officers are able to provide jackets to the first years, as well as Keystone degrees to deserving recipients. All available chapters across the state of Pennsylvania go. It’s a fantastic way to meet people who share the same interest in agriculture.

In order to go on the trip, each member needed to make a payment of 45 dollars, resulting in a fundraising campaign that allowed those in need of help to pay for the trip’s cost. The fundraiser decided upon ended up being pizza and sub sales. The aftermath of the fundraiser was very positive, as a lot of sales were made, which was important to the team.  Another necessary point was getting a minimum of 30 members to pay and attend the trip, due to bus costs and the need of a nurse to be with the students, though there was no problem reaching the 30-person minimum. In fact, there were 48 students and chaperones in attendance.  

Monday, January 10th rolled around, and my morning started very early, as we were told that the bus was leaving by 6:30 am. After everyone made it to the school, we loaded the bus and Mr. Campbell took attendance for first time out of many during the day. The drive from Derry, PA to Harrisburg, PA, where the Farm Show complex building was located, was around 3 hours. About halfway through the trip, we stopped at a rest stop to stretch, go to the bathroom, and grab something to eat. We arrived at the Farm Show around 11 o’clock.

Before we entered, a map of the building was given to each of us. Mr. Campbell also said that we needed to use the “buddy system,” meaning that everyone needed to stay with at least one other person from Derry so that we wouldn’t get lost. After we unloaded the bus, we walked into the complex and took the stairs up to Derry’s meeting spot. We were allowed to explore the complex as we pleased until 1:00.

I didn’t go to Farm Show my freshman or sophomore year, so this event was new to me. The online map made the building look much smaller than it actually was, so finally being able to see it in full was a lot to take in.

Cydney and I explored the building, starting with the bunnies and chickens. We walked from hall to hall, looking at all there was to find. Around 12, we decided to grab something to eat. One of the food items that Farm Show is best known for is the milkshakes.  

By the time we were done eating, it was time to meet at the meeting spot. The actual Mid Winter Convention was from 2 to 4 o’clock. Those who received their jackets and degrees changed into their official dresses. Whenever Cyd and I arrived at the spot, Mr. Campbell took attendance once more and Miss Winklosky took the recipients of the jackets and keystone degrees and helped them find their seat in the arena. By 2 o’clock, the convention had started. 

The convention began by introducing the Pennsylvania state officer team. Then, the 12 handpicked, outstanding SAE recipients were introduced. Following that was the distinguished parent award, that recognized a handful of parents who had a certain number of their children receive their keystone degrees. Paul and Gretchen Winklosky, were awarded this, as they have 3 children who have previously received their keystone degree or have previously been a state officer, with their son James being the fourth child to receive his keystone degree at Mid Winter Convention.

After those awards, first year jacket recipients gathered in a circle around the arena and they were able to put their jackets on for the first time. At our school, Timmy Miller and Savannah Harpster were Derry’s recipients to receive their jackets. After that, roll call for Keystone degrees started. The recipients lined up, and when each of their names were called, they went on stage and took a picture with the state FFA president, Abby O’Neill, and then were presented their degree. From Derry, our Keystone degree recipients were James Winklosky, Alexis Farzati, Shelby Glick, Hope Shaulis, and Kylie Iscrupe. Once Derry’s Keystone degree recipients had finished, those of us who were in the stands were told that if we wanted to explore more of the complex, we were allowed to.

Leaving the arena around 4 o’clock, Cydney and I went to explore the horse hall, which was the only area we had not yet uncovered. After that, we ended up watching people volunteer to ride the mechanical bull, the last thing we experienced before our departure. Heading back to the meeting spot, we gathered our group and headed to load the bus back home. During the drive home, it was snowing really bad. Thankfully, we made it home around 10 o’clock, and everyone went home for a good night’s sleep. 

Farm Show really opened my eyes to what opportunities were available in my future career years. Going to this event really made me admire and appreciate FFA and ag more, and I highly recommend that if those who take ag in the coming years at least once attend Pennsylvania Farm Show.


For more info about what all there is at the Farm Show, I’d visit the PA farm show website. (https://www.farmshow.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx).

Also, check out the podcast Cydney Wierzbowski and I filmed where we talk more about Farm Show. https://dastation.net/1649/podcast/episode-14-amber-platt/#photo