News for Constituents

The 2020 Farm Show Arrives 

The 2020 Farm Show begins at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, on Saturday January 4 at 9am.  Featuring the popular Farm Show fare, the 104th Farm Show continues until Saturday January 11 at 5pm.  This year, the annual event will showcase the ways visitors can be a part of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry through its theme – Imagine the Opportunities.

Visitors will experience nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits highlighting Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry and history.  With live shows and live animals, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Consult the schedule to be sure to catch your favorites and everything new, whether it’s cooking and baking contests, tractor square dancing, animal judging, or any of a multitude of events.  Be sure to get all the results, recipes and follow-ups to the Farm Show activities.

Real Christmas Tree Recycling

Before hauling out your Christmas tree for curbside trash collection this year, consider some of the alternatives offered by the National Christmas Tree Association.  Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes.

If you have limited space, consider a community curbside or drop-off collection program that chips and mulches the tree for future landscaping projects.  Repurpose your tree as a bird feeder, stringing orange slices and popcorn to attract birds and provide new shelter in your backyard.  Establish an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish by sinking your tree into a private pond.

Recycle and reuse programs across the country are adopting ideas to give renewed purpose to real Christmas trees.  Explore how officials at zoos, fisheries, islands, and beach areas are increasing efforts to repurpose live Christmas trees.

PA Continues to be a Leader in Farm Land Preservation

The PA farm preservation program reports Calendar Year 2019 saw the highest number of farms preserved in a decade.  In December, Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board announced the safeguarding of an additional 2,450 additional acres on 29 farms in 16 counties through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program (ACEPP).  This nation-leading preservation program slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.

According to the state board, in partnership with county boards, a total of 210 farms, representing 17,817 acres of land, were preserved in 2019.  Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,636 farms totaling 577,092 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.

Farms across the Commonwealth are diversifying the use of their preserved land through such activities as agritourism.  Agritourism includes recreational services such as farm or wine tours, hayrides, and more.  The Senate passed Senate Bill 583 (Aument) unanimously in May to ensure that agritourism activities are considered as part of the agriculture authorized on farms preserved under the program.  The legislation would create uniformity across the Commonwealth, allowing farmers, regardless of their location, to take advantage of the growing popularity of agritourism.

Hot or Cold – Pets Must Be Protected From Extremes

Temperature extremes, both hot and cold, can be life-threatening for illegally tethered dogs, according to the PA Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States.  Libre’s Law, passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 2017, restricts tethering to less than 30 minutes when the Fahrenheit temperature drops below 32 degrees and rises above 90 degrees.

Dogs and cats in imminent danger from temperature extremes while left in an unattended motor vehicle can be rescued under Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act signed into law in 2018.  After a reasonable search by law enforcement and safety professionals for the vehicle’s owner, Act 104 of 2018 permits rescue of an endangered pet, without fear of liability for damages to the vehicle or its contents as a result of the effort.  Following the rescue, a note is required to inform the vehicle owner where to pick up their pet.

Report animal cruelty to your County Humane Society Officer, local or PA State Police, or your County District Attorney.  Penalties for violating PA’s dog law range from a summary offense to a misdemeanor of the second or third degree to a felony of the third degree.

Vehicle-Deer Collisions and Your Insurance

They may not be “reindeer” but motorists should beware of Pennsylvania’s white-tailed deer and understand their risks and liability, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Deer-involved crashes are not considered at-fault.  With a one in 52 chance of being involved in a deer-related collision, the Department is reassuring drivers, their insurance company cannot add a surcharge to their premium for an accident with a deer.  Contact the PA Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau online or at 1-877-881-6388 for related problems.

Tackling Roundabouts 

Transportation roundabouts, a circular intersection in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island, have been successful in preventing injuries and saving lives, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). 

Examining Pennsylvania’s first modern roundabouts, PennDOT found a reduction in minor and moderate-injury crashes.  At the same time, major-injury crashes and fatalities were eliminated where roundabouts replaced traffic signals and stop signs.

Modern Roundabouts being used by federal, state, and local governments require a few simple steps for safe counterclockwise navigation

  • Approach slowly.
  • Yield to pedestrians upon entering and exiting the roundabout.
  • Do not stop in the roundabout.
  • Allow approaching emergency vehicles to enter and exit the roundabout before you enter.
  • Motorists already in a roundabout when an emergency vehicle approaches should continue and leave at the intended exit before pulling to the side of the road, allowing the emergency vehicle to pass.