The Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg is highlighting two machines that improve technology for loggers and farmers.
Technological improvements have been a focus of the Wolf Administration since the introduction of the nation’s first Farm Bill in 2019 to support the $132.5 billion industry that supports more than 590,000 jobs paying nearly $33 billion in wages annually.
A massive machine that allows loggers to cut and move hardwood trees safely is on display in the main hall. The feller buncher is not only safer for loggers but can harvest up to 22,000 trees a day, said Wes Miller of A.M. Logging.
“A good chain saw operator can cut more than 100 trees a day,” he said. “This is so much faster, and the operator doesn’t have to worry about trees falling on him.”
That’s because the feller buncher has an enclosed cab that protects the operator while he is felling trees.
The new technology requires a skilled operator that Miller said improves wages for some of the 44 company employees. “Loggers are more efficient, so they get more wood to the mills faster,” Miller said.
Hardwood is a $36 billion industry in Pennsylvania, said Jonathan Geyer, executive director of the Hardwoods Development Council of the state Department of Agriculture.
While there are less than 3,000 loggers in the state, the industry supports around 63,000 jobs in industries that use hardwood for manufacturing, mainly in the Lancaster, Berks and Bucks region, Geyer said.
Behind the main food court, Scott Wakefield, a service manager for Forrester Farm Equipment, showed New Holland’s newest forage harvester that allows farmers to harvest crops more quickly and safely.
The forage harvester, he said, picks the whole plant, chops it into pieces and separates the parts needed to produce silage that offers a higher rate of digestion for livestock, increasing milk production and improving the quality of meat.
Wakefield said the machine offers farmers more comfort which is crucial as they may stay in the fields for long hours, even days, harvesting while the crops are at their peak.
“It has sensors that, in real time, adjust for moisture, length of cuts and even when blades need sharpened,” he said.
The annual farm show highlights the various agricultural industries across the state including wineries, breweries, food processing, education and equipment as well as various types of farming and livestock. The show runs through Saturday.