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‘Market and educate’: Penn State Ag Progress Days is in business

Stanley Carper has been coming to Penn State Ag Progress Days for as long as he can remember.

But this time, he’s on the business end of things instead of the consumer end.

Carper, a horse breeder from Catawissa, is also an independent agent for Atlantic-Pacific Trading Inc. — a research and development company that works on agricultural products that are multi-functional.

On Tuesday, the first day of Ag Progress Days, he was promoting numerous fertilizers that promote healthy soil.

“I’m here to market and educate people on growing good produce with good soil and fertilizers,” he said, as he interacted with customers and the general public who had questions. “Farming starts in the soil.”

Show Manager Bob Oberheim said the event started in the late 1950s elsewhere but found a permanent home at Rock Springs in 1976. The three-day event showcases the university’s research and hosts commercial exhibitors.

And with nearly 500 exhibitors this year, there was something for everyone that included dairy, equine, crop production safety and family living exhibits, in addition to those representatives from John Deere, Kubota and Case IH, among dozens of others.

On Tuesday, despite the morning rain, Oberheim said that didn’t deter between 12,000 and 14,000 people from attending the event from Pennsylvania and surrounding states. Throughout the course of the three-day event, more than 42,000 people are expected to attend.

“It’s one of those events that some people, especially in the agricultural business, plan a vacation day to come here,” Oberheim said.“We really want the public to learn the importance of the college of agricultural science and how it impacts everyday lifestyle.”

The event is a free all agriculture-based show where exhibitors bring their equipment, services and supplies, and interacts with the public.

For Jerome Buckholtz, a farmer in Clearfield County, this is one of his favorite ag events.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, but you talk with so many people and learn something new every time,” he said. “On top of that, you make a lot of connections. If my equipment breaks down, I’ve made some good contacts that I can rely on to rent equipment on the spot or something.”

The event will continue today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a 6 p.m. equine program for the public.

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