HONESDALE—Agricultural enthusiasts of all interests and professions gathered Feb. 19 at Honesdale High school to talk shop, trade secrets and learn a little more about the changing face of the agriculture industry at Wayne County Ag Day 2018.
Born out of the annual Dairy Day informational festivities which have been a staple of the last four decades, Ag Day assembled an assortment of 30 presenters from myriad industry disciplines, including their staple“Ask the Experts” panel.
The two formal presentations on dairy beef, from Dr. Tara Felix, and backyard poultry, from Emily Lhamon.
In addition to expanding topics from dairy to all parts of agriculture, Ag Day 2018 also showcased the attempts for a reemergence of several youth-centered ag groups.
After a few years' hiatus, the Wayne County Dairy Promotion crew seeks to reinvigorate the county Dairy Court.
“What we're looking for,” explained dairy Princess Committee representative Tiffany Tyler, “is girls who are willing to get out there and help promote the dairy industry.”
Tyler and fellow dairy promoter Joan Schweighofer further noted dairy promotion is necessary because milk is “actually very good for our health, and it's vital to help the farmers sell their products.
The court consists of Lil Miss (4-8 years old), Dairy Miss (9-12), Dairy Maid (13-16), Ambassadors (over 16 or male participants) and Princess (16-24).
Through myriad appearances, members of the dairy court benefit from practiced public speaking at their events, said Tyler.
Schweighofer stated there are also scholarship opportunities available to dairy court members and volunteering as such looks good on resumes and college applications.
Those interested in joining the dairy court are asked to contact Tyler at 570-493-8011 or Schweighofer at 570-224-4619 or 570-493-1978 by March 15.
Also reemerging this year, Honesdale High School's (HHS) recently revivified FFA club had a booth set up “...to show that FFA is here and we're active,” said club advisor and new HHS instructor Kayla Hack.
Describing the day as a meet-and-greet, Hack noted the booth would serve well as an opportunity to learn what help FFA can bring to the community.
“We know that the face of Wayne County agriculture is changing and growing, it's dynamic, and so how can students be a part of that.”
FFA members on hand to kibitz with the community included President Leah Neu, Vice President Dylan Card, Sentinel Lily Fries, Treasurer Nick Bochnovich, and member Emma Diliberti.
Another notable new feature this year includes the presence of the Northeastern PA Maple Producers Association new Maple Sweetheart, Katie Nebzydoski.
“She makes appearances at functions that we do as an association,” explained President George Harris.
Of the chance to serve as the face of the maple association, Nebzydoski said, “I'm proud that I get to be the Maple Sweetheart and I get to promote maple syrup throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Being the niece of maple producer Tom Nebzydoski, syrup production is in her blood.
Maple producer Peggy Simons explained the association's self-guided maple tour is up and coming, scheduled for March 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In conjunction with the Wayne Conservation district, the tour features ten local producers of pure maple syrup and a pancake breakfast on Sunday.
New this year, the Conservation District is offering a bus tour on Sunday, March 18, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
More information on the bus tour can be found on the Conservation District website: www.wayneconservation.org.