Recently I had the pleasure of spending a week in Pennsylvania attending various industry events. I have been to Pennsylvania many times, but each time was always a quick trip for trade shows. The first leg of my journey involved a tree care industry show in Pittsburgh. I spent a couple days in that city and found it really pretty along the river. However, our editor Mike Freeze, who was born in Pittsburgh, warned me not to hang around downtown if a Steelers game was scheduled. When Sunday morning rolled around, I hightailed it out of Pittsburgh because the Cleveland Browns were in town.
It was a beautiful day and I decided I would take my time driving to Harrisburg. The trip along Interstate 76 was wonderful. The scenery was just what this country girl likes – a lot of picturesque mountains, well-kept farms and sprawling farmland. I remember one neatly painted red barn with white lettering, advertising “Drink milk.” I was impressed with all the billboards promoting milk consumption. They aren’t those glossy-looking campaigns with phony painted milk mustaches that we see in Hollywood magazines; instead, they feature real children playing outside. Billboards are outlawed in the state of Vermont, but I think dairy farmers in Pennsylvania benefit from these prime advertising spots along the highway.
Spending time in the state made me realize that there is a good deal of support for agriculture. I spent a day at the beautiful Hershey Lodge and Convention center attending the annual Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Convention. This organization has over 61,000 volunteer members. The staff welcomed me and took good care of me, while informing me of all the bureau’s services. My good friend Dave Williams received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award for his contribution to the advancement of Pennsylvania agriculture. Dave is a well-known radio host and the Northeast reporter for Rural TV, also known as RFD-TV. You may have heard yours truly on one of Dave’s radio broadcasts talking about the magazine and sometimes straying to the topic of RFD-TV because that is my favorite television network. Dave is a super nice person and well deserving of this award.
The second half of my trip was spent at the Cummings & Bricker, Inc. Equipment Expo held at the Farm Show Complex. I have heard about the farm show in Harrisburg but couldn’t believe the magnitude of it. The Cummings & Bricker Expo was put on by the Cummings families from Batavia, New York, and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I have never felt so welcomed at an industry event. Gene Cummings, Lynn Cummings and Holly Saporito were the perfect hosts. The first person I saw at the expo center was my old friend Kevin Chamberlain from Charleston, New Hampshire. He and I go back 22 years in this business. Alan Merrill of Cummings & Bricker grew up in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, so we spent a good deal of time reminiscing, and Don Partridge went out of his way to make sure I had everything I needed.
I would like to thank everyone at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Convention and the Cummings & Bricker Expo for making me feel so welcomed in their home state.