Jim Harbach, Halee Wasson help unveil butter sculpture

PHOTO PROVIDED Jim Harbach, left, and Dairy Princess Halee Wasson helped unveil the butter sculpture.

Clinton County dairy farmer Jim Harbach was front and center at the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show as a 1,000-pound butter sculpture was unveiled, paying tribute to the history of environmental stewardship by dairy farmers.

Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess Halee Wasson of Centre County also participated in the unveiling with Harbach, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and sculptors Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Montgomery County.

“The butter sculpture is a creative way to showcase the dairy industry and for dairy farmers to tell their story – about the nutritious products we produce, the practices we employ, and the standards we uphold,” said Harbach, of Schrack Dairy Farms in Loganton. “Caring for the land, air and water we share with our communities is important to us all, so I’m pleased to be representing my fellow Pennsylvania dairy farm families today.”

The sculpture, sponsored by American Dairy Association North East (ADANE), highlights innovative practices to enrich the soil and reduce storm-water runoff, such as crop management, plants and groundcover near streams, streambank fencing, and manure storage facilities.

The 2017 sculpture showcases Pennsylvania dairy farmers and an agriculture industry that has high standards for conservation, with deep roots in a culture of stewardship.

“Many people care about the health of our local waters — none more so than farmers, who rely on our land and water to grow the food that we enjoy,” said Redding. “Our farmers have long recognized the important link between healthy soils, sustainable farming practices, and the quality of our waterways. When we have healthy, viable farms, we have healthy, viable watersheds. You can’t have one without the other.”

The sculptors began working in mid December to create the 2017 edition of a Farm Show tradition that dates back to 1991.

At the close of the show, the butter, which was donated by Land O’ Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County, will be transported to a Juniata County dairy farm where it will be run through a methane digester and converted into renewable energy for the farm.

ADANE is funded by dairy farmers to promote milk and dairy products. For more information, visit www.dairyspot.com.

The show runs through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and concludes Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $15 in Farm Show lots. The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center is easily accessible from nearby Interstate 81.