The biggest marketing event for Lebanon County farmers continues through the week.
The 57th Lebanon Area Fair continues through Saturday, serving as a source of fun for families but serious business for the farmers who display their livestock and products
Mike Firestine, senior vice president for Fulton Bank’s agriculture department, said the fair serves as a meeting place for the county’s extensive farming community.
“It’s a networking event for farmers,” he said. “The farmers of the county, they may have not seen each other in months. … This is a chance for them to get together and talk shop.”
The event, held at the Lebanon Valley Expo Center and Fairgrounds on Rocherty Road just south of Lebanon in North Cornwall Township, also brings in farm equipment vendors.
While Firestine said not much money changes hands this week, it starts valuable leads and contacts that often result in sales down the road. Those contacts also include banks, which are at the fair to discuss loan programs for farmers.
The livestock competitions also provide a measuring stick for local farmers to gauge how good their product is during the competition events.
“How do you know how good your livestock is unless you’re competing against the best?” Firestine said. “This week is important to the agriculture community as well as the suburban area.”
One of the featured events is a breakfast staged by the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce featuring U.S. Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson of Centre County, a member of the House Agriculture Committee. He’ll be on hand to discuss the farm bill passed by the House earlier this month and currently being debated in the Senate.
The breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m.