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Educational experiences abound at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

January 10, 2019

The 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show puts Somerset County 4-H’ers into the spotlight for an educational experience that works both ways.

At least, that is what Faith Decker, of Meyersdale, experienced while she was selling her lamb.

Judy Baca, of Union County; Joyce Walmer and Pam Kroh, both of Dauphin County; and Leslee Clapp, of Lackawanna County, stopped to pet Decker’s lamb and ask her a ton of questions.

While the 4-H exhibitor gets the experience of educating the public, the attendees get to find out more about the animals and agriculture. Faith said that people who walk through the livestock area stop by all the time and ask questions such as “Does the lamb have teeth?” “Why do you shear the lamb?” and “Why put a blanket on the lamb?”

“It’s interesting to see what kind of questions spectators have, and you answer those questions the best you can because people are really curious about these animals,” said Faith, a ninth-grader at Meyersdale and member of Buffalo Creek 4-H Club.

She is the daughter of Rick and Julie Decker.

Clapp, who was with a group of women asking Faith about her lamb, said that the Pennsylvania Farm Show is a tradition of “nostalgia” for her family because their grandfather, John Jaquish, was the first county extension agent in Wyoming County and retired in 1956. He taught them that agriculture is important in many ways.

A retired teacher, Clapp believes that the farm show provides an opportunity for both the exhibitor and the spectator in an educational exchange.

“The farm show has so much variety, and there is so much to know about Pennsylvania agriculture,” Clapp said. “Whether you are from the city or the country, there is so much to learn here.”

Fatima Padilla, 11, a fifth-grader at Somerset and member of G-Y-Knot 4-H Club, also got to talk to spectators about her livestock at the farm show.

“Being able to raise animals and work with them is a great experience, and coming to the farm show takes a lot of hard work but is worth it in the end,” said Padilla, whose older sisters, Viri and Mirella, also showed in years past.

Greta Stahl, a 4-H mother from Somerset, also believes that the farm show is a great educational experience. Her daughter Tessa, 18, competed with livestock at the farm show this year and her daughter Paige, who showed for many years through 4-H and FFA, will graduate from California University with a teaching degree in the spring.

“Every kid here is a winner,” Stahl said. “This is a positive, family-oriented activity and it has taught our daughters responsibility and good competition all the way around.”

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