The theme of the 2024 Pennsylvania Farm Show centered on the community connections that exist within the agricultural industry.

That theme was certainly exemplified by Lebanon County’s representation at the 108th edition of the Farm Show. 

From individuals volunteering in the food court to area businesses having booths to market their wares, the county’s presence was felt this year throughout the Farm Show Complex.

On the first day of the show, LebTown toured the annual agricultural extravaganza to capture some of the imagery that showcases the county’s footprint in the largest industry in Pennsylvania and Lebanon County.

From the massive Fredericksburg-based Bell & Evans display that explained their role in putting food on the table to the hundreds of individuals who entered judging competitions, participants made it clear what it means to call the Lebanon Valley home. 

For the record, there were over 220 entries from Lebanon County’s 4-H Club members and other local residents in the livestock judging competition. Those entries ran the gamut from rabbits to goats to dairy and beef cattle to market hogs, sheep and lambs.

Read More: Zimmerman brothers keep family tradition alive at PA Farm Show

Unfortunately, there were no poultry entries at this year’s show due to an outbreak of avian flu. However, there was a live feed of the ever-popular chicken egg hatching that was arranged and broadcast from the Lebanon Valley to Farm Show guests. 

There were about 75 entries from Lebanon County in the family living exhibits competition that included 4-H projects, crafts, “fashion with a flair,” various hobbies including photography, baked goods and canned items, among many others.

Agricultural education was also on display with 45 entries from members of the county’s various FFA clubs, including miniature landscape designs, gardening, floral designs, metal and wood works, and two antique tractors that have been restored to their original glory by FFA members at the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center and Eastern Lebanon School District. 

Read More: Lebanon County FFAers rebuild antique tractors for PA Farm Show

Whether a blue ribbon was won or not, everyone who shared their talents and skills with visitors to the Farm Show this year earned their place.

Two local sisters from the Jonestown area were also in the spotlight during the week-long event. 

Crystal Bomgardner, president of the Pennsylvania FFA, and sister Chloe, who is the current Pennsylvania State Fair queen, attended numerous events to promote agriculture. Chloe was a judge at the cake judging competition even though she confided to LebTown that chocolate is not among her favorite desserts.

Read More: Lebanon County’s Chloe Bomgardner crowned 2023 PA State Fair Queen 

As state FFA president, Crystal offered comments during the opening ceremony on Saturday and told the gathering that agriculture is a fundamental source of natural prosperity. She also presided over the mid-winter convention that occurred on Monday as new members were welcomed to the growing organization.

“When I think of agriculture, I think of the many opportunities I am presented with in Pennsylvania and the community that surrounds me,” said Crystal during the opening ceremony.

While she doesn’t remember the first time she ever attended the Pennsylvania Farm Show, she does have fond memories of certain events that have left a positive mark on her life, including the first time she donned the blue FFA jacket in 2019.

“I remember the people, the mentors who have surrounded the agricultural youth and who have poured into my story and the story of other young agriculturalists,” Crystal told the crowd that included family members and the press. “I will remember this Farm Show for the many experiences, memories and lessons that I will learn as the 2023-2024 state FFA president along with my six teammates.”

She said those experiences are made possible because of the community that surrounds Pennsylvania youths and the PA Farm Show.

“When I think about this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show theme, ‘Connecting Our Communities,’ it gets me excited,” said Crystal. “Why? Because each one of us has an opportunity to represent our story in agriculture and come together to celebrate them as that connected community.”

Read More: Bomgardner seizes her moment as Pennsylvania FFA state president

She highlighted the importance of all ag-based youth programs to the state’s No. 1 industry.

“Youth programs build the stepping stone to have that impact on one another and create a driving force to see agriculture succeed,” said Crystal. “I am excited to share with you that Pennsylvania FFA is part of this driving force as we’re going to celebrate a record-breaking number of over 900 scholarship recipients who will zip up their first jackets at this mid-winter convention.” 

Here is a photo gallery of the sights captured at the PA Farm Show by LebTown photo journalist Will Trostel.

Read More: Fifth-generation JDS Family Farm is an island in a sea of local development

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James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; Lancaster...


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