Pa. dairy’s deep roots: A look at the inspiration for 2023 Farm Show butter sculpture | Local News

HARRISBURG – The generations of history and connection that accompany many dairy farms in Pennsylvania are the focus of this year’s farm show butter sculpture, revealed to the public Thursday.

The design depicts a family against the backdrop of the dairy family farm, and it was chosen to visually represent this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show theme, “Rooted in Progress.”

“It’s always been a privilege to meet so many individuals who have defined what ‘Rooted in Progress’ really means,” said State Secretary of Agriculture Russel Redding. “Theirs is the face of Pennsylvania agriculture.”

“We want to tell our story,” said Steve Harnish, a dairy farmer from Central Manor Dairy LLC in Manor Township, Lancaster County, who spoke at the reveal of the sculpture, which is the 32nd annual installment. “We have deep roots and are committed to progress.”

Harnish said that he was proud to represent not just his family’s dairy farm, which has been running for three generations, but to be at the butter sculpture reveal on behalf of all dairy farms across Pennsylvania.

“All farms look different and they operate differently, but we have a common purpose in being represented here today because we want the general consumer to know more about dairy farming,” Harnish said.

This year’s sculpture is constructed out of 1,000 pounds of butter, donated by Land O’Lakes in Carlisle, Cumberland County. It took sculpture artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton about 14 days to set up and compete.

The design process starts with the idea from the Pennsylvania Dairy Association, Pelton said. From there, she explained that they do a sketch to conceptualize the ideas into 3D imagery. After the design is approved, the artists work on their structures, which is the framework that supports the butter.

The artists must deliver everything to the farm show complex and work for about eight hours a day for 10 days carving the piece in the display booth, which is set at a temperature of 50 to 65 degrees during the sculpting phase. While the sculpture is on display, it is stored at about 40 degrees, Victor said.

It is a process they are very familiar with, as they have been doing the Farm Show sculpture for more than 20 years, Victor said.

“I think butter is really very beautiful, because it has this very translucent kind of quality to it,” Peloton said. “I wish that all of my sculpting materials were really like it, actually, because it’s pretty easy to work with, and it’s pretty malleable and loose.”

Being asked to do the sculpture again is an honor for them, Victor said.

Timelapse of the butter sculpture

When the farm show ends, the butter will be sent to the Reinford Farm in Juniata County to be converted into renewable energy in the farm’s methane digester.

The sculpture can be found in the main hall of the Farm Show.

This year’s Farm Show runs from Jan. 7 through Jan. 14, 8 am to 9 pm daily. The exceptions are Sunday, January 8, when the show runs from 8 am to 8 pm., and Saturday, Jan. 14, when it runs from 8 am to 5 pm the food court only will be open today from noon to 9 pm


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