State Officers Get the Grand Tour

Posted: July 3, 2012

Pennsylvania State 4-H Council Members represent the nearly 205,000 youth across the commonwealth at countless events. June was yet another busy month for the State Council. On June sixth the council officers had the opportunity to tour the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in Harrisburg.
2012 State Council officers -Capitol Steps

2012 State Council officers -Capitol Steps

Council members met with the Secretary of Agriculture, George Grieg, on the newest innovations of agriculture in Pennsylvania. Secretary Grieg shared insight into the complexity of his position and how agriculture expands far beyond the grocery store. Morgan Firestine, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretaries, escorted the members on a tour of the Department.

Council first met with Emily Yeiser, Dairy Initiatives Manager, at the Center for Dairy Excellence informed the officers of the primary components of Dairy Excellence. Yeiser enlightened the teens with the purpose of Dairy Excellence and how they serve the commonwealth by assisting in building partnerships with resources to create dairy profitability. The members were also told of a number of internships that are offered for college students and ways to network with individuals and professional organizations within the dairy industry. The council gained knowledge of how far agriculture extends by meeting with Walt Remmert, Bureau Director for Rides and Measures. Rides and Measures includes: any scales, amusement parks, fair rides, and many more. Remmert explains, “everyday you buy gas, and it is our job to make sure you are actually receiving the amount of gas you are paying for.”

A past 4-Her and current Entomology Program Manager, Sven Spichiger, showed the team the greenhouses on-site and explained their testing to assist in finding solutions to plant diseases. The team viewed the insect collection gathered over a number of years. The collection is of such quantity, there is an entire room to house the cases of insects. Next up was State Microbiologist, Ann Rosenberg, she took time away from the lab to expose the teens to the testing that is performed to ensure the food consumed in the state, is safe. Currently, the labs are testing a sample of lunches served at summer camps across the state. Getting to view the labs where the testing is preformed on a daily basis was an enormous privilege.

The day concluded with hearing Secretary Grieg, State Dairy Princess Gabrielle Murphy, and other experts in the dairy industry on the State Capitol steps to recognize June as Dairy Month. The importance of dairy was celebrated over an enormous ice cream sundae with State Officials. The ice cream and toppings on the sundae were all donated by Turkey Hill, a well-known dairy company from Lancaster County, PA. It does not get any better than meeting with the Secretary of Ag, a Biologist, an Entomologist, a Bureau Director, a Dairy Initiatives Manager, Dairy Princesses and eating ice cream with State Officials on the Capitol Steps all in one day.