Farm Show Open Without Radio

Jan 9, 2012

One tradition stretching back to the 1940s is not part of this year's Pennsylvania Farm Show. In past years, Penn State's Extension agents would cover every inch of the Farm Show and then offer customized stories to rural radio stations.

"You know, little Johnny Smith won third prize in the youth swine competition, for instance," said Chad Gill of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, "So it got local names — people's names and local town names — into the broadcast."

The radio team's budget was cut by the extension service following the latest state budget. "So we just no longer had the human resources available to support this effort," said Gill. "It was one of those things when you have budget cuts, you sometimes have to make some tough decisions about what you can continue to do and what you have to stop doing, and this is a casualty of that."

Gill said that the change coincides with a decades-long trend of a Farm Show more focused on attracting new visitors than reporting exhibit results to the folks back home.

"A large percentage of the people who come to Farm Show are not farmers," said Gill. "They are consumers, city folk, suburbanites. They're people that are coming out to eat food, go to the rodeo, and take in some of the entertainment."