PA Farm Show: Todays Agriculture

by Danielle @ Itsaharleyyylife on January 7, 2013

in Weekend Fun

If you are from Pennsylvania especially in the Susquehanna Valley you know about the PA Farm Show.
If you don’t, you should do some research because this is the 96th year!
Hundreds of Thousands of people I’m sure come to the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits. It’s pretty much a big deal. If you don’t like animals or aren’t a farmer you will still enjoy the show because of the FOOD! oh boy the food!

I go every year but this year there is something new at the farm show.
PennAg Industries Association created a barn! Yep you heard me right… a barn in the middle of the farm show! Inside it: Today’s Agriculture! I’ve been following their progress on facebook and let me tell you seeing it up close and personal… it is pretty amazing.
PennAg gave some of us PA Bloggers a tour of inside. Not only did we learn about how animals spend their day and their life span but also about their nutritious value to living a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s go inside shall we.
dairy and beef cow
When we first entered the barn we were welcomed by the Beef Ambassadors. I never heard of this group before so I can’t wait to do some research about them and find out more about the BOLD Survey. {more on that in a later post!}.
The Beef Ambassadors talked to us about Beef Cows. They make your Ground Beef, Steaks, Roasts, Ribs, Briskets and Beef Jerkey. Another fact market weight is usually 1200-1400 pounds or 18 to 22 months of age.
There are 29 lean beef meats. That means they have 10 grams of fat or less and have the words tender or round before them.

The next cows we were introduced to were Dairy Cows. {the two bottom pictures} This was actually a local farmer from Berks County that talked to us! {PS: it is nice to know that local food is really LOCAL.} A dairy calf weighs between 90 and 100 pounds at birth. A heifer becomes a cow when she delivers her first calf, at about two years of age. That is when they can produce milk. On average, A cow will have a calf once a year. Milk is very good for you. It has 9 essential vitamins and you should have 3 servings of dairy a day. That can be milk, greek yogurt, etc.
veal cows
Next up were the Veal Cows. Usually I don’t mind the whole seeing the animal and then knowing that I am going to eat them thing but when it comes to veal cows, I probably won’t ever eat them after this experience. Veal calves only live for 20-22 weeks before they are killed. In their first couple of weeks alive they live by themselves in a very small area. Then when they grow up a little they live with a friend in a little bigger of an area. The point of this is they don’t want the calf to move a lot because that means oxygen will get into their muscles. Veal is usually whiter and tender because oxygen doesn’t get to their muscles.
Products of veal are cutlets, steaks, chops, osso bucco,roasts and ground veal.
The reason I kind of feel bad for veal cows is because they can never get up and move around and go out and play in the grass before they are killed. I’m fine with eating animals but I want them to live life first… you with me?

Next up: Poultry. That is domestic birds, such as chickens, turkeys and duck that are raised for meat or eggs.
We first looked at the Hens. They lay about an egg a day for 150 weeks. Brown eggs come from a chicken with a red ear lobe; white eggs come from a chicken with a white ear lobe. What I also found interesting was that when you see Omega 3 eggs or different type of eggs like that it is actually in the feed. Whatever the hen eats is what extra nutrients are in the eggs.

We also saw ducks and turkeys in this portion. Turkeys are raised for 8-20 weeks depending on the turkeys weight. {seriously the male turkeys freak me out!} Ducks are made for market 40 days after hatching.

turkey and pigs
Pigs were next. Pigs live in different barns, based on their age. Sow barns house pregnant sows and sows that just gave birth to piglets. Piglets are raised in nursery barns until about 50 pounds. Pigs move to a finisher barn, where farmers raise them to about 270 pounds and send them to market to make pork products. The average sow {which you can see on the bottom right} will have two litters within a year.

I think I had more fun petting the little piglet.

After the pigs we headed outside where they had big tractors {that seriously cost more than houses}, corn and soybean plants.
Corn seed cost A LOT of money. When a seed is planted it takes about 90 days to harvest and then it is mostly fed to the animals.
Soybeans take about 70 days to harvest. Humans eat soybeans as tofu, in oil or roasted as a bean. Edamame is a green (immature) soybean.

That was the end of the tour. It was great but the next part as a foodie myself was even better! The FOOD!511
PennAg took us to their VIP station where we were waited on and served anything we wanted that they made.
I chose the tortilla crusted tilapia sandwich, chicken corn soup and of course the famous chocolate milkshake! Seriously my readers if you go to the farm show you need to get this milkshake. It definitely isn’t healthy but it is made with real milk! (: {so that makes it a little better!}

This was such a great experience. I seriously learned so much about the food I eat daily that I never even knew before! PennAg {especially Melissa!} is a great group that I can’t thank enough for inviting us to this event.
and another opportunity to hang out with these lovely ladies is always awesome! (: I’m so happy I met them!
The blogging community is the best!

Questions: What is one thing you learned from this event? Are you going to go to the PA Farm Show?

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