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2023 Pa. Farm Show butter sculpture unveiled

The 32nd Annual Pa. Farm Show Butter Sculpture was unveiled at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex at Thursday morning.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The 32nd annual Pa. Farm Show Butter Sculpture was unveiled at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on Thursday morning.

Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, and local dairy farmer Steve Harnish unveiled the butter sculpture. 

This year's theme is Rooted in Progress, and the Dept. of Agriculture says it highlights the strong roots Pennsylvania agriculture has today thanks to a vision rooted in progress and eight years of target support in the industry.

“We celebrate this year’s theme, Rooted in Progress, by highlighting the progress made over the past eight years and the opportunity that Pennsylvania’s farm families have today to innovate, diversify, and plan,” said Redding, via a press release. “The entire commonwealth benefits from the strong roots we’ve cultivated for agriculture. These roots feed local economies and Pennsylvania families, they break down walls holding Pennsylvanians back, and they are a strong foundation for the future.”

The sculptors, Jim Victor and Marie Pelton have been sculpting for years. 

The 2023 sculpture took them two weeks to design and 1,000 lbs. of butter. Land O’Lakes donates the butter every year to the Pa. Farm Show for the sculpture. 

“We have a system of working through that 1,000 lbs. of butter because it doesn’t come easy... If the butter’s too cold then it’s hard to work with and we soften it by increasing the temperature slightly,” said Pelton.

The butter sculpture is sponsored by the 5,200 dairy farm families in Pennsylvania in partnership with the Pa. Department of Agriculture. 

Steve Harnish, owner of Central Manor Dairy LLC and member/owner of Land O’Lakes said the Pa. Farm Show brings the community together. 

“This is like our central thing we do in the winter time... This is the gathering place to not only see each other and see products, but to meet the general public who shows up to see the show and tell our story,” Harnish explained.

Dairy supports jobs across the Commonwealth with Pennsylvania ranking eighth in milk production in the United States. 

After the farm show, the butter sculpture will be recycled into energy at Reinford Farms in Juniata County. 

Officials say it will be placed in the farm’s methane digester, which converts manure and food waste into energy that helps power the farm and contributes to the local power grid.

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