My primary appointment at Penn State is in Cooperative Extension, a national program started in 1914 by the Smith-Lever Act. In short, the Extension functions as a credible, researched-based resource that informs its stakeholders about developments in agriculture. I work with various groups, including livestock producers, butchers, food retailers, and the general consumer.
Admittedly, most of my time is spent working with butchers (woo, HACCP!). Winter is often thought of as Extension workshop season because that’s when farmers aren’t out in the field (not to imply they aren’t working … I know that’s a far cry from the truth). Though they might be racing to haul out the barn before the ground thaws, they also aren’t trying to put up hay at the mercy of intermittent rain showers (which, in Pennsylvania as it is in many other states, is sometime impossible to predict). I spent much of January driving (and sliding/slipping/skidding/skating) to all corners of Pennsylvania (and New York) to conduct workshops and give presentations to various groups. I also conducted a HACCP workshop for meat processors, as well as schlepped my way to D.C. to defend a grant proposal.
Also in January, Pennsylvania holds its annual Farm Show, which for any non-Pennsylvanians is basically our state fair. And yes, Extension personnel from Penn State play a major role in that event. I’ve been a travelin’ man, galavanting all over the state (which can be tiring but is fun)… all the while keeping up with my Slaughterhouse9844 photo project.
I’m BACK at the keyboard (mostly)! And in my little mid-winter hiatus I was sure to pencil down (OK, iPhone audio notes) all sorts of ideas for blog posts… nutrition labeling requirements, 3rd party “humane” verifiers, production systems and relative carbon foot/hoofprints, and other postings to come…