Harrisburg, PA - Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Adjutant General Major General Tony Carrelli today announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is partnering with the state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) again to host Veterans, Military, and Their Families Day on Thursday, January 11, as part of the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.
“Two percent of our population feeds us and two percent of our population protects us,” said Redding. “Our servicemen and women not only sacrifice for our country, they develop skills that transfer extremely well to agriculture careers when they return home, and they bring a diversity of perspective that strengthens our industry. We are honored to highlight veterans’ service to our country and to the agriculture industry during the 2018 PA Farm Show, where we will celebrate the ‘Strength in Our Diversity’ as the show’s overarching theme.”
The day will begin with an opening ceremony on the Lancaster Farming Stage at 9 AM in the Expo Hall. The ceremony will include patriotic music, a ceremonial color guard, and featured speaker Greg Stegall. Stegall manages mobile distribution programs at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. A veteran himself, he runs the MilitaryShare program, which provides fresh, nutritious food for families with at least one member who served in the military. In 2017, the program distributed 15,100 boxes of food through more than 20 monthly distributions at VFWs, American Legions and other veterans’ organizations.
Secretary Redding; Major General (Ret.) Eric Weller, DMVA’s deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs; and Central Pennsylvania Foodbank Executive Director Joe Arthur will also greet the crowd.
The DMVA Mobile Veterans Outreach Van will be set up in the Exposition Hall all week and staffed with Accredited Veteran Service Officers to provide information and assistance to veterans and family members who may be eligible for programs, benefits and services such as service-connected disability compensation, pensions, health care benefits through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, burial benefits, education benefits, vocational rehabilitation, active service bonuses, state nursing home care, and much more.
“With nearly a half a million people visiting the Pennsylvania Farm Show annually, this is the perfect opportunity for us to reach a good percentage of Pennsylvania’s nearly 820,000 veterans and their families,” said Carrelli. “We encourage attendees to stop by our Mobile Veterans Outreach Van anytime throughout the week and talk to one of our Accredited Veteran Service Officers to learn more about the benefits they have earned through their service to our country.”
The annual Army vs. Navy Cook-Off will return at 1 PM on the PA Preferred™ Culinary Connection stage. The cook-off attracts close to 400 Army and Navy fans annually to root for their favorite military chefs and media personalities from abc27 and FOX 43, as they compete in a heated “Iron Chef”-style cook-off. Culinary Specialist First Class Frida Karani will represent the U.S. Navy, and Chef Adalberto Campos will represent the U.S. Army, in a battle for culinary dominance.
At 2 PM on the Culinary Connection Stage, awards will be presented to Pennsylvania’s newest inductees in the PA Preferred™ Homegrown By Heroes™ program.
Homegrown By Heroes™ is the official farmer veteran branding program of America. Products bearing the logo signal to consumers that they were produced by military veterans. The program is available to farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and value-added producers of all branches and eras of military service.
Several state agriculture departments have officially partnered with Homegrown By Heroes to promote the label within their states. PA Preferred ™ combines the two program logos to give Pennsylvania farmer veterans added point-of-sale visibility to help them succeed in the marketplace.
For more information about the 2018 Farm Show, visit www.farmshow.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers, Agriculture - 717.783.262
Joan Nissley, DMVA – 717.861.8720
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