CAMP HILL – The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) Board of Directors announced its decision to support the re-election of Abe Harpster and Valerie Detwiler as Ag Trustees to the Penn State University Board of Trustees following a January meeting.
The PFB Board of Directors met with both candidates and unanimously agreed to support their re-election to the board during the May 5th election, which will be held in State College, with the location to be announced. The PFB encourages County Farm Bureaus to participate in the election.
M. Abe Harpster is a managing partner and owner of Evergreen Farms, Inc., in Spruce Creek. Evergreen Farms, Inc. is one of the largest dairy farm operations of its type in the Northeast, as Harpster and his two brothers milk over 3,200 cows on their 7,000 acre farm.
Harpster is a 1994 PSU graduate with a degree in agricultural business management and is entering his ninth year as a trustee. Harpster has served on the Board Executive Committee for eight years and is a member of the university’s Presidential Recruitment and Selection Committee in 2021. Harpster has held membership offices in many Ag Associations on the local, state and national levels and has been a member of the Agricultural Education Foundation and served on the PA Governor’s Dairy Advisory Board. He regularly volunteers as a guest lecturer in the College of Agricultural Sciences, the Smeal College of Business and at numerous industry conferences.
In addition, Harpster also holds many student classes at the farm, hires Penn State graduates and offers summer internships for students looking for business experience.
Today, Harpster is a member of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, the Holstein Association, Land O’ Lakes and has served on the Boards of the Beef Council, the FFA Foundation, the Agway Foundation, the Beef Quality Assurance Commission, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and the Pennsylvania 21st Century Environmental Commission. He is a member of the Penn State Alumni Association and the Nittany Lion Club.
If re-elected, Harpster said he will strive to make a Penn State degree more valuable and more affordable to the residents of Pennsylvania. Harpster vows to protect and uphold the land grant mission of Penn State and is looking to lead in making the decisions that guide PSU to achieve better financial positions. He also hopes to make Penn State a better place to work, a school of choice for students and he wants the university to be ranked higher academically among its peers.
Harpster and his wife, Trish, have three children who are being raised on the family farm.
Valerie Detwiler currently serves as Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Banker for Reliance Bank. Detwiler has been involved with agricultural lending since 2004, when she began working for the USDA Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program. Detwiler served as a Farm Loan Officer until 2010, when she began employment with CBT Bank and later transitioned to Reliance Bank in January of 2018.
Detwiler and her husband own and operate Forsheys Ag & Industrial, a New Holland machinery dealership, located in Martinsburg, as well as a beef and crop operation located in New Enterprise.
She graduated in 2006 with high distinction from PSU with a B.S. in accounting and a minor in legal environments of business. Detwiler currently serves on the Blair County Chamber of Commerce Farm City Committee, the Loan Committee of the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission and the Pennsylvania Banking Association’s Agriculture and Rural Issues Advisory Committee. Detwiler is a Pennsylvania Farm Bureau member and she and her husband are lifetime members of the PSU Alumni Association. Detwiler is currently completing her second three-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees.
If elected, Detwiler said that she plans to help the university support its Land Grant Mission and hopes to advocate for the citizens of the commonwealth and continue to bring a diversified voice and perspective to the board.
Detwiler grew up on a dairy farm in Martinsburg with her parents, Gerald and Linda Smith. She currently resides on part of the family farm with their daughter, Carly, and son, Gabriel.