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The making of a legacy

Anyone that knows Sam Hayes,Jr. Knew when he became Secretary of Agriculture sweeping changes would occur. But no one understood how major those changes would be.Currently there are several major projects underway.
A new Livestock Genetic Test Lab is under construction on Rt. 45 on the former Keppler farm. The old test facility was 17,000 sq.ft., the new facility is 178,000 sq.ft. This facility is for evaluating sires of livestock.It will be filled with beef bulls, rams and boars. It will be able to double or triple the number of sire throughout the year. It is a 6.4 million dollar project.
“It will be the only test facility of it’s kind in the nation,” Secretary Hayes said. “It will also have an assembly hall to hold 700 people.”It will be available to hold such events as the Cattlemans’ Convention,breed events,etc. It will also include kitchen facilities for food service at such events. Five years ago when I became Secretary of Agriculture the newest piece of equipment at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Test Center was a 1980’s truck. We are increasing the size of the new facility by ten times.”
Another HUGE project is the expansion of the Farm Show Complex. “Expanding the Farm Show Complex was a major goal for me,” Secretary Hayes stated. “We already have the largest exhibit area under one roof, now we are going to have 360,000 million square feet of exhibit area. We’re adding a new Exhibit Hall. The old main hall is 145,000 sq.ft. The new one is 175,000 sq.ft. There will be two major exhibit areas now. There will be a second large arena with seating for 1,700 people.”
The old small arena is being upgraded with new seating, air-conditioning and a new auctioneer area.Air-conditioning is being added to the old arena as well.The family living center is being upgraded ; it will now have seating for 1500 plus with 30,000 sq.ft.of exhibit space.
There is also a 10 million dollar roof project underway. A new roof is being installed on the existing complex. “You have to protect the complex and your exhibitors,” Secretary Hayes stated. “The new complex and the exisiting complex will be connected with a two-tier concourse.The lower-level will handle livestock and their exhibitors and the upper concourse will be for pedestrians.”
The project is to be completed by Farm Show 2003.
“They are three weeks ahead of schedule.” said Charlie Itle manager of the All-American Dairy Show. The largest dairy show in the world, thanks to increased funding and support of Secretary Hayes.
A major change will be taking place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show 03.The event will be increased by four days.It will now run from Saturday to the following Sunday.
“We are expanding the number of days,” Secretary Hayes said. “There are so many events the ag community wants to do. It was a nightmare to try to schedule everything.”
The 2003 show will be held January 11-19.
Other highlights of Secretary Hayes tenure include a new bulk milk tank testing program for dairy farmers. A new greenhouse complex behind the PDA. Another project is a new Sample Room for diagnostic tissue.
“Before a box of tissue could be delivered to any door,” Secretary Hayes stated. “Now all incoming tissue will be collected in one area.”
Another project was making the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation program the largest program in the country. The Simply Delicious Program for promoting Pennsylvania’s fruit and vegtables.
“It includes billboards on Route 453 outside Tyrone,” Secretary Hayes said. “Television ads will be running on local stations in August and September.”
Other projects include Senior Citizen Nutrition, Crop Insurance for farmers.
Another project is a new permanent building for PDA at Ag Progress Days. The 2002 Ag Progress Days take place August 20-22 at Rock Springs along Route 45. A ribbon-cutting will be held on Tuesday August 20.
“I didn’t take the position of Secretary of Agriculture to clip coupons,” Hayes said. “It was to cut ribbons.”
The list of projects seems endless. The construction projects are history-making. The future of agriculture is growing bright in Pennsylvania. The legacy of Agricultural Secretary Sam Hayes will remain for many generations to come.