HONESDALE—Students from the Honesdale High School (HHS) Ag Science Program saw great success at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show held in early January, including new FFA inductees and a tractor restoration project.

Freshman students, Allison Billard, Jake Macley, Emma Modrovsky and Rowan Murray all received their blue FFA jackets at the Farm Show this year, joining the thousands of members nationally.

“It felt pretty great,” said Billard, involved in market meat goat raising and showing. She relaying that it “felt good” to receive the FFA scholarship as Freshmen. “We won our jackets without having to pay for them,” she noted, adding it allows the group to “be a part of FFA and part of our community a little bit more. It was nice.”

Modrovsky, involved in showing pigs and generally interested in all the ag industry has to offer, stated, “It was really nice when we were down there because we all go our jackets and got to zip them up at the same time, which was really cool because we all joined the family together.”

Murray, a dairy enthusiast, added, “Once you get [the jacket], it shows you're part of something bigger than just a little small-town thing. You don't realize how many people actually do it.”

She added that, upon seeing the sea of blue jackets, there is a sense that “wow, that's a lot of people we can share memories with and relate to.”

Honesdale's students received four of the more than 300 jackets issued at this year's Pennsylvania FFA Mid-Winter Convention, held on day two of the Farm Show.

The students expressed excitement and pride at the opportunity to put Wayne County “on the map” as Modrovsky put it.

Experiencing the Farm Show for the first time, the students noted it was unlike anything they'd seen before.

“We were in awe,” Murray explained, noting the sheer number of animals present vastly exceeded what they were used to seeing at the Wayne County Fair.

Additionally, the students noted they were excited to see the large number of agriculture enthusiasts present at the show.

Expressing an overall positive experience from the trip, the students noted they are excited to attend future farm shows and get more involved with FFA.

“I'm definitely happy the FFA came to Honesdale,” said Murray.

Tractor restoration

One of the highlights of of Honesdale FFA's Farm Show experience was the restoration of a 1952 Farmall Super C tractor, by Leah Neu and Dylan Card, the respective President and Vice President of Honesdale FFA

Card and Neu submitted the tractor, donated by HHS wood shop teacher, Matt Rickard, for competition in the Farm Show's Antique Tractor Restoration contest.

“The competition consisted of...the tractor, our record books, and we had to do a presentation,” explained Neu, noting part of this presentation included video production of the restoration process.

Utilizing time-lapse photos of the restoration the pair explained, “The process of what it took to get it all back to the original look,” said Card.

He added, “At the end of it, we had actually received a giant check … for $800, just for competing, and a blue ribbon for the tractor itself.”

Neu described the restoration process as “long” with Card adding “stressful” shortly thereafter.

Despite the ardor of the undertaking, Neu noted it was “rewarding at the end.”

Card described the restoration's completion as “...a big relief off the shoulders.”

Neu explained, “We were both kind of new to restoring a tractor, so it took a lot of learning as we [went], to figure out what we needed.”

Card added, “We've both been around tractors our entire lives. But actually stripping one entirely down and removing all the old paint and bringing it all back to bare metal, and then repainting it and putting a bunch of new parts on it was all new to us.”

The process took between four and five months to complete, said Neu.

The pair explained the tractor was given back to Rickard who plans to use it for hauling firewood and haying when the season starts.

Card added, “He gave us permission to use it for parades, and we have this pretty cool idea to build a little trailer for all his kids to ride in to pull through all the parades.”

Encouraged by their success, Card and Neu said they may take on further restoration projects in the future.