'Risks are too great': Pa. Farm Show ditches in-person events

The Pennsylvania Farm Show — one of the biggest regional agricultural events of the year — is going virtual for 2021.

The weeklong event in Harrisburg, slated to begin Jan. 9, typically is a boon for south-central Pennsylvania hotels and restaurants. 

But with no end in site to the COVID-19 pandemic, state Agriculture Secretary Russel Redding announced Wednesday that there will be no in-person events or competitions next year.

"There are times in the life of a farmer when the risks are too great or uncertain, requiring farmers to make the tough decision to leave a field fallow,” Redding said in a news release.

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The decision was made to protect both people and resources from "incalculable losses," he said, and it was not an easy decision to make.

4-H riders perform at the 104th Pennsylvania Farm Show Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Saturday was the first day of the week-long farm show. Bill Kalina photo

The theme of the 2021 show is Cultivating Tomorrow, and the focus will be on agricultural awareness, education and literacy while highlighting the interconnectivity of the food chain, he said.

Details will be released in the coming weeks, and updates will be posted at farmshow.pa.gov or on the Pennsylvania Farm Show Facebook and Instagram.

“We have not lost sight of what this industry means to Pennsylvania; in fact, this pandemic has highlighted our reliance on it. The show will go on, just as agriculture has persevered," stated Sharon Myers, executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.