Agriculture advocate and current PA Preferred program coordinator Zachary Gihorski of Liverpool, Perry County, will become the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s new representative to the state’s county and community agricultural fairs, acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced.

“Pennsylvania’s 109 county and community fairs are the gateway to our agriculture industry for more than five million visitors each year,” said acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “They also showcase the best from the farm, field, kitchen and woodshop – and the Pennsylvania Fair Fund helps these fairs continue that legacy. Zach’s passion for agriculture education will serve him and our fairs well as a knowledgeable liaison between fairs and our department.”

As fair coordinator, Gihorski is charged with administering the Pennsylvania Fair Fund, which reimburses fair premium costs, provides grants for capital improvement projects to fairgrounds, and assists 4-H and FFA programs with the costs of leadership activities. He will also oversee the PA Preferred baking competitions, the PA Preferred display competition, and the fairgrounds safety poster contest.

“Pennsylvania’s fairs are an important part of our heritage, rooted in agriculture, and they remain a vital cornerstone of communities across the state,” said Gihorski. “I’m honored to work more closely with fairs this year, to help promote and advance agriculture, and to work with fairs to promote the upcoming 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show.”

Prior to joining the department, Gihorski previously served as community liaison with Delaware Valley College, now Delaware Valley University, in Doylestown, Bucks County, where he developed outreach programs to boost community awareness of agriculture and involvement in local food systems.

A 2012 graduate of DelVal with a degree in agriculture education, Gihorski served as a student-teacher at W.B. Saul High School in Philadelphia, the nation’s largest agricultural high school. He was honored with DelVal’s Founders Award for being the school’s most outstanding student leader.

Gihorski earned the National Agricultural Communication Award through the National Young Farmer Education Association and serves as a judge at livestock shows and as a presenter at the New Jersey Livestock Symposium at Rutgers University.

He grew up on a livestock farm in Port Norris, New Jersey, and was a member of 4-H and FFA.

The 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 9-16, 2016 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.