ROCK SPRINGS - The benefits of creating pollinator-friendly landscapes will be the focus of the Yard and Garden area at Penn State's Ag Progress Days from Aug. 13 to 15.
The demonstration plots there are four years old and their many flowers and plantings are attracting and nourishing huge numbers of native bees, butterflies and other pollinators for which they are intended, according to Molly Sturniolo, coordinator of Penn State Extension's Master Gardeners program in Centre County.
As the nation's populations of pollinators continued to plummet, Penn State Master Gardeners from across the state teamed with horticulture faculty members to create and nurture the gardens at the end of 11th Street at the show site to demonstrate that supplying pollinators with food and habitat can be beautiful.
Ag Progress Days will feature nearly 500 exhibitors and a variety of field demonstrations, giving agricultural producers a marketplace where they can learn, shop and compare, according to Bob Oberheim, Ag Progress Days manager.
"About two-thirds of Ag Progress Days visitors are connected in some way with production agriculture," Oberheim said. "We try to offer these visitors an opportunity to see firsthand the products and practices that can help them to do their job more efficiently and to remain profitable in a very tough, competitive business."
Commercial exhibitors will display virtually every product category, including field machinery, milking systems, animal genetics, storage structures, seed, feed, tools, trailers, sprayers, mixers, livestock housing, utility vehicles, fertilizers, fencing, financial products, insurance and more.
Oberheim noted that a popular feature of Ag Progress Days among farm operators is the field machinery demonstrations. "These demos give visitors the chance to see how equipment from different manufacturers performs under real-life conditions," he said.
Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.