Each year, the Pennsylvania Farm Show unveils its famous butter sculpture in January. The 2023 sculpture depicts several generations of a dairy farming family to celebrate the work dairy farms put into producing healthy, sustainable food options.
“Since 1991, this butter sculpture has been the cornerstone and unofficial launch of our Farm Show for 32 years. We are proud to have this partnership with the dairy industry in Pennsylvania,” said Agriculture Secretary Russel Redding. “Pennsylvania dairy goes back centuries, and began with a few cows on every farm. It evolved as society and science changed. It is now a $14 billion powerhouse in this state. As the show unfolds, you will see the roots of progress unfold.”
Available for viewing at the Farm Show’s Main Hall, the sculpture is sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East, recognizing the 5,200 dairy farmers in Pennsylvania. The theme, “Rooted in Progress,” highlights the progress previous generations have made in the dairy industry.
This year’s “buttery creation” was sculpted by husband and wife team Jim Victor and Marie Pelton. The butter art has been under construction since mid-December using butter donated by Land O’ Lakes in Carlisle. Victor and Pelton have been crafting the butter sculpture for the Farm Show since 2008.
“PA dairy is rooted in the improvements in dairy genetics, in nutrition. It’s the advancements in animal care. It’s the food safety standards that have been established, the innovation, the distribution of products, the research that our land grant university at Penn State has done over time,” said Secretary Redding. “It’s the work of our Penn vets at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical School. It’s the Center for Dairy Excellence. All of that allows us to stand here today and recognize the importance of dairy to our state, and honor the deep roots that we have in dairy.”
After the show, butter will be moved to the Reinford Farm in Juanita County to be converted to renewable energy in the farm’s methane digester. Workers at the Reinford Farms said that last year’s sculpture was estimated to have produced enough gas to heat a house for three days.