From the resumption of school to Penn State’s football season and innumerable entertainment and cultural events in between, COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the rhythm of Pennsylvania life.
The latest casualty is the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the celebration of the $135 billion-plus agriculture industry and rural culture.
Thursday, the Wolf administration canceled the eight-day event, which had been scheduled for early January.
In 2019, more than 500,000 people attended the show, which generated more than $100 million in economic activity. It featured more than 12,000 exhibits across more than 1 million square feet of the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.
Organizers and some lawmakers lamented the decision. And one legislative spokesman vastly overstated the case in claiming that the agriculture community was being “punished” despite having made economic sacrifices due to the pandemic.
The decision, announced Thursday by the Department of Agriculture, is in good faith.
“There are times in the life of a farmer when the risks are too great or uncertain, requiring farmers to make the tough decision to leave a field fallow,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a prepared statement. “To protect our assets — both our people and our resources — from incalculable losses, we have made the tough decision to take a year to lie in fallow.”
Even so, the decision seems a tad premature. The administration has done a good job, overall, of managing the health emergency so that COVID-19 has been in decline statewide. And there has been promising news of late regarding progress toward herd immunity and accelerated vaccine development that potentially could create the possibility of a postponement rather than a cancellation.
The administration should hold off and monitor developments before canceling the farm show.
— Republican & Herald, Pottsville