Grazing’s Good at Annual Lebanon County Extension Gathering

3/8/2014 7:00 AM
By Sue Bowman Southeastern Pa. Correspondent

LEBANON, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture, George Greig, a longtime Crawford County dairy farmer, thought he knew all about grazing practices. But he learned some new ones as guest speaker at Lebanon County Extension’s 96th annual meeting and volunteer recognition night.

Held on Feb. 25 at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center, the gathering introduced about 130 attendees to grazing at a food court showcasing local products and producers.

Greig and his fellow diners lined up to select from such choices as Hess’s Barbecue Catering’s roast beef sundae, which featured beef slices, mashed potatoes, grated cheese and a cherry tomato arranged to look like an ice cream treat.

Of course, there was genuine ice cream, as well, dished up by Lebanon County Dairy Princess Bethany Huntzberger and her court, who were conveniently situated next to the apple dumplings being served up by Sycamore Spring Orchard and Farm Market.

For those facing a snack attack, One Potato, Two Potato, a new division of Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips, offered a flavor for just about any palate —cracked pepper, sweet onion, Hawaiian barbecue, sea salt and sweet potato.

Candy-Rama provided plastic bags that diners could fill with a choice of sweets from the company’s Lebanon Farmers Market stand.

Other booths featured food from Farmstead Farmers Market, Fisher’s Homestyle Salads, Giant Food Stores, Huey’s Eatery, Pennsylvania Beef Council, Seltzer’s Lebanon Bologna, Verl’s Salad and Catering, and Wertz Candies.

Leon Ressler, district director for Extension in Lebanon, Lancaster and Chester counties, introduced a video, “A Quick Trip Down Memory Lane,” celebrating the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which established Extension.

Ressler noted that the U.S. already had land-grant universities by 1914, when Congress founded Extension to create an outreach to local communities to make more people aware of the developments being pioneered at those institutions.

For his part, Greig saluted Extension at land-grant universities in general and Penn State in particular, noting that together, the two institutions enable agriculture to meet the demand for American grown products at home and for export.

Greig said he has met with representatives from numerous countries looking to supplement their food supplies. When those nations realize they will be unable to keep up with the demands of their growing populations, they turn to the U.S. and Pennsylvania’s 63,000 farm families to help them fill their needs.

Extension agronomist Del Voight highlighted the results of the 2013 Five Acre Corn Club competition and recognized Jason Krall, who, along with his father, Glenn, had the highest till class yield in the state.

Voight said that when he came to Lebanon from Iowa in 1993, 150 bushels of corn per acre was considered a good yield, whereas now yields can exceed 250 bushels per acre.

Voight also recognized Jeff Bombgardener of North Annville Township for having the highest soybean yield in the state, with 97 bushels per acre.

“We learn as much from farmers as in our research plots,” Voight said.

Voight also called longtime Jackson Township farmer Dick Kreider to the podium to acknowledge him as an “Honorary County Agent.”

Others who were singled out for recognition included Donna Kleinfelter for 20 years as a Master Gardener, Dale Maulfair for his 20 years as a leader of the NoSoAnn 4-H Dairy Club, Lorraine Royer for her 25 years as a 4-H club leader and Martha Gregory, who received the Distinguished Service Award for her more than 20 years as an Extension educator for 4-H programs.

Debbie Tice, a part-time Extension employee who coordinates the county’s 4-H program and is active with its Catastrophic Animal Rescue Team, was announced as the 2014 Women’s Hall of Fame honoree in the field of agriculture. She will be inducted by the Lebanon County Commission for Women this month as part of its celebration of Women’s History Month.

Three new board members, Krista Ditzler, Brian Patches and Dana Lape, were elected to two-year terms during the annual business meeting. Incumbents Brian Boyd, Carol Checket, Alice Jones and Megan Walmer were re-elected to additional two-year terms.

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