Milton Hershey School Students Participate in 2021 Virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show
In any other year, Milton Hershey School students in the Agricultural and Environmental Education (AEE) clubs would be busy working on showmanship techniques, washing and grooming their animals, and going through all the final details leading up to the highly anticipated, and time-honored MHS tradition of participating in the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
As a result of COVID-19, the 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show has gone virtual this year, and competitions are organized differently. However, the MHS tradition continued with seniors Greg Gulli and Kenny Casey who still participated in the alternative Junior Market Steer Competition.
In past years, the Market Steer Competition would have meant an early morning wake up to get to Harrisburg in time to weigh the steer and make sure that every inch of them is shining for their judging class. The steer would be judged on their confirmation and soundness as well as how the student presents their animal.
This year, Greg and Kenny worked to get their animals show-ready following the school’s physical distancing and COVID safety protocols at the Animal Center on campus. They also wrote buyer letters to potential businesses and organizations to generate interest in buying or bidding on their steer. The MHS steers were judged and ultra-sounded for muscle quality before being sold to registered bidders at the New Holland Sales Stables in Lancaster on Saturday, Jan. 9 for this year’s competition.
Kenny’s steer finished second and Greg’s placed third in their class. Kenny’s steer also took the Reserve Champion All Other Purebred Steer award.
“Of course, we would all like to be together with the greater farming community at the Farm Show Complex but it is nice that our students still got an opportunity to finish what they started,” said Rachel Teller, Associate Director of AEE at MHS. “Greg and Kenny learned the importance of commitment and a strong work ethic given all the changes of this year’s competitions.”
Both students have worked with their steers since the calves were born on campus, so even the alternative style of competition showcases the culmination of years of hard work to get the steers to this point.
“I started walking it when it was a stubborn baby and have watched it progressively get better,” Greg said. “This school year, when I was able, I went to the Animal Center to wash and prepare the hair of the steer to make it easier to clean for showtime. I also made my steer look nice so I could take pictures with him so that we could send them to buyers across Pennsylvania in order to get a higher price for our cattle.”
“It was important to follow through with the commitment I gave whenever that cow got assigned to me as a calf,” added Kenny. “For me I see him as my responsibility until he ends up wherever he goes.”
Both students plan to continue their studies focused on their passion for AEE. Greg, who completed various internships at the MHS Animal Center, plans to go to school for Animal Sciences or Agriculture Engineering. Kenny plans to study Environmental Management/Conservation and eventually become a Game Warden and show cows and hobby farm throughout his life.
The 2021 Virtual Pennsylvania Farm Show is taking place from Jan. 9-16. Pennsylvanians can experience all that agriculture has to offer through virtual events on the Farm Show Facebook and Instagram pages and on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
Milton Hershey School is carefully following federal and state guidelines, CDC considerations, and MHS-established health and safety protocols to keep our campus a safe, nurturing, and healthy place. Any group photos of unmasked subjects were taken prior to the face coverings mandate.