FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2023
Contact: Shannon Powers – 717.603.2056, email@example.com
Supporting youth development is part of the Shapiro Administration’s investments in a strong future for PA Agriculture.
Harrisburg, PA – The Keystone International Livestock Exposition (KILE) returned to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg Friday, Sept. 29 for its 66th year, bringing two weekends of livestock competitions and exhibitions featuring 1,000-plus competitors from 27 states, as well as agriculture career development, and free family fun. The East Coast’s largest livestock show includes a national 4-H, FFA, and collegiate team and individual judging competition, along with thousands North America’s best cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, alpacas, and horses in action in dozens of widely varied competitions.
Youth leadership skills, animal care and breeding, and farm management skills developed and honed during KILE are critical to the future of the agriculture industry. Supporting volunteer-run shows and agriculture education are central to the Shapiro Administration’s robust support for Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry and the more than 593,000 jobs that depend on it.
“KILE features top-notch animals in competition, led by skilled exhibitors who have bred and raised them,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “But the heart and soul of this event are the youth who are learning the leadership and agriculture skills they will need to succeed in life and become the innovative, agile workforce our agriculture employers need to compete. Youth are the seeds of agriculture’s future, and every hour and dollar we invest in their development and growth feeds all of our futures.”
The bi-partisan budget Governor Shapiro signed for 2023-24 includes critical investments in agriculture’s next generation. Among them are $13.8 million in the historic PA Farm Bill, a set of strategic initiatives and funding to build the workforce Ag employers need, and remove barriers standing between the industry and those who want to be part of its future. Investments also include support for KILE and other youth competitions, Pennsylvania’s Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence, as well as the largest increase ever in basic K-12 education funding, expanded apprenticeships and career and technology training, and continued work to expand broadband internet access to allow students and employers in rural communities to compete.
The first weekend of KILE included ranch riding, featuring the horses’ skills at maneuvering through a series of patterns and challenges at working speed. Rounding out the first weekend, goat and hog shows featured a wide array of breeds, as well as youth showmanship, testing young people in their animal care and handling. Results and photos from the first weekend are at keystonelivestockexpo.com.
Competitions resume Thursday, October 5 and continue through Sunday the 8th, with contests running daily from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 9:00 p.m., except Sunday, when the final event begins at 1:00 p.m.
KILE’s second weekend will include everything from enormous draft horses and compact Halflinger ponies in pulling, hitch, and decorating contests; sheep and cattle shows featuring a stunning variety of breeds including fan-favorite Highland cows; 25 teams of high school and collegiate competitors in a national judging competition; Make it With Wool, an all-wool clothing design and construction competition; and even a “lead line” where sheep and their handlers sport matching costumes. The youngest spectators can get in the action in a pedal-tractor pulling contest.
The North American All Breeds 6-Horse Hitch Classic Series and the Haflinger Hitch Pony Champion Series classes will feature some of the country’s best draft horses and ponies competing for berths at the national finals. The event also features the Keystone Classic Barbecue Competition, a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event, bringing the region’s finest culinary competitors to qualify for their national competition.
Between competitions, visitors can meet the animals and their handlers throughout the complex to learn about the different breeds and what goes into their care and management. Visitors can also enjoy a barbecue sandwich from the Pennsylvania Livestock Association to lend their support to Pennsylvania youth scholarships, as well as a Farm Show milkshake to support the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.
Learn more about PA youth agriculture opportunities at agriculture.pa.gov/kidsarethefuture.
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