A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Is it Spring Yet? Maybe not quite for all of us, but sooner or later we will all be starting a new planting season. After the challenges presented by last year’s excessive and untimely rains we’re all in hopes of a better year this time around. With that in mind, the Board of the Alliance wants to wish all of you the best for a productive, profitable and safe 2019!
Meet Your Board Members
A recent issue of the American Agriculturalist featured a story on the experience of two western Pennsylvania farmers, including board member Ryan Graham, with planting green. Both credited the Alliance with sparking their interest in this practice: Ryan because of his interaction as a board member of the Alliance and the other, Ed Thiele from hearing board member Lucas Criswell speak at a soil health workshop.

In total, Ryan farms nearly 3000 acres of owned, rented and custom-farmed ground each year. After positive experiences with no-till for over 25 years and more recently with cover crops, he began experimenting with planting green - starting with 30-40 acres the first year. The next year, based on what he learned about species, seeding rates, etc. he increased to 400 acres and then to 800 acres this past year. He relates that the best results are attained when a mixed cover crop of wheat, radishes, clover and rape or some combination thereof is drilled in immediately behind the combine. The goal is to have it about a foot tall when planting commences about May 1 st and to terminate right after planting.

Ryan sees increased organic matter resulting in a healthier soil and ultimately increased yields from incorporating planting green into his pre-existing no-till and cover crop practices. In March he was honored as the Butler County Conservation Educator of the Year for his efforts on his farm and with the Alliance.

Pho to: Ryan Graham says he likes planting corn into fields of mixed-species cover crops. (Source: American Agriculturist)
Alliance News
Fulfilling Our Mission to Spread the Word about No-Till
An important element of the mission of the No-Till Alliance is to spread the word – farmer to farmer – on the benefits of no-till practices and use of cover crops. To that end, members had an active January through March as members carried that message statewide. Twelve members spoke or made presentations at 24 soil health events, attracting attendance of over 400 interested people. In addition, members hosted 5 small “town-hall-type” events, attended by an additional hundred folks. And finally, the two statewide soil health meetings in February drew nearly 200 people for a full day program.

Using a different form of communication, the Alliance-sponsored video “ The Lay of the Land” was seen at the Farm Show and other events to well over 400 people. Add this up and it appears the Alliance message that no-till and cover crops equal healthy soil and clean water was seen or heard by over 2000 individuals in the past three months!

Going beyond the borders of Pennsylvania, the Alliance was represented nationally by members speakers at the National No-Till Conference, No-Till on the Plains, and members spoke at soil health events in at least 5 other states. Fulfilling our mission and spreading the word consistently!
Looking Ahead - Topics for Summer Field Day Sought
As reported earlier, this summer the Field Day returns to Hershey Farms, Elizabethtown on July 25. As the program is developed, we would very much like to hear what you would like included.

  • What are your hot issues right now?
  • Did you hear a speaker this winter that you thought was great? 
  • What are your biggest challenges right now? 

Please forward any suggestions you may have to Jay Howes at .
Upcoming Events
June 5
Watershed Expo, Manheim Farm Show, Manheim, PA

June 27
Farming for Success, Landisville, PA

July 25
PA No-Till Alliance Summer Field Day, Hershey Farm, Elizabethtown, PA

August 13-15
Ag Progress Days, Rock Springs, PA

December 9
Cocalico/Elanco Agricultural Forum, East Earl, PA
Ag Articles of Interest
FDA Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food
If you are hauling litter/manure or receiving litter/manure, you need to be aware of the substantial outbreak of Coryza in Lancaster County (Mt. Joy and surrounding areas), an area of York County, an area in Franklin County and an area in Juniata County. This is a poultry disease. There are links below to information on Coryza, disinfection and increased biosecurity.
It is of the utmost importance that you speak with your poultry clients and ask if they have any health challenges. Manure is a vector for spreading Coryza. Heat will kill the disease (which is a bacteria). It is important for you and your workers to be aware of this issue and to follow strict biosecurity/cleaning of equipment, truck and even the shoes you wear.
PennAg is working with PDA and UPenn on the Coryza issue and it would be extremely helpful if you could contact Jennifer Reed-Harry at PennAg ( ) if you have hauled or will be hauling from an area that is positive for Coryza.
General Information:
  • Dr. Gino Lorenzoni posted a factsheet on Coryza on the PSU Extension website.
  • Quite a few disinfectants will work on this bacteria. Click here to review disinfectants spectrum.
  • Lysol, Tektrol and Nolvasan are three of many that could be used on clean surfaces to disinfect. Be sure to read directions to properly dilute and clean before disinfection.

Core fundamentals of Biosecurity can be reviewed by clicking here .
PSU Extension to Host a Train the Trainer Course on Spotted Lanternfly Permit
Our eastern Pennsylvania members in quarantine counties may be interested to know that Penn State Extension is currently offering a "train the trainer" course on the Spotted Lanternfly Permit to train designated employe es  -­ usually an owner, manager, or supervisor - ­within a company on how to comply with the quarantine regulations. The designated employee  must then train fellow employees .
Participants will learn how to:
  • understand the importance of stopping spotted lanternfly
  • outline the lifecycle and habits of spotted lanternfly
  • understand why there is a quarantine zone and how it works
  • find and destroy spotted lanternfly
  • implement best practices to follow as you work in the quarantine zone
For additional information or to register, please visit .
Changes Coming to the PA Pesticide Certification Program
PA Department of Agriculture is setting in motion plans to comply with needed modifications to the existing PA Pesticide Certification Program, as outlined by the EPA. While these changes are not expected to go into effect until approximately 2022, those that may be affected should be aware and plan ahead as needed.

  • All exams will move to a closed book format, including private exams. There are currently 13 areas that are administered as closed book (Core, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 19, 22, 24, 25 and Dealer Manager), but the remainder will follow suit in the future.

  • The Private Applicator and Registered Technician age will increase from 16 to 18. Currently, there are less than two dozen certified individuals that fall in this age bracket statewide.

  • Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) will only be permitted for use by Certified Applicators (commercial, public and private) or those that have been trained as a WPS Handler. Registered Technicians will not be permitted to use an RUP. Individuals under direct supervision – under continual visual and voice control – will also not be permitted to use an RUP.
Questions or concerns about these upcoming program changes may be directed to Jessica Lenker at PDA via phone (717-772-5217) or email ( ).
New EPA-Required Paraquat Training and Additional Use Restrictions
On March 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of required training for certified applicators who use products that contain paraquat dichloride (also known as paraquat) as an active ingredient. According to the EPA announcement, the reason for these new restrictions is to help reduce accidental ingestion (a single sip can be fatal) and other exposures to the product. The announcement indicated that since 2000, 17 deaths have been caused by accidental ingestion of paraquat. Many of these deaths resulted from people illegally transferring the pesticide to beverage containers and the victim later mistaking it for a drink. In addition to the deaths by accidental ingestion, since 2000, three more deaths and many severe injuries have been caused by the pesticide getting onto the skin or into the eyes of those working with it.
Products that contain paraquat dichloride as an active ingredient may be known to growers under many brand names, e.g., Gramoxone, Firestorm, Helmquat, and Parazone.
Click here to read more.
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
In 2019, the Alliance is fortunate to be receiving financial support from a near record number of Annual General Sponsors. These generous contributions are invaluable in assisting the Alliance fulfill its mission to spread the word, farmer to farmer, on the value of no-till, cover crops and how they can improve soil health, water quality and overall farm productivity.

Thank you to our Annual General Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors
Stroud Water Research Center
PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Silver Sponsors
Gro-Mor Plant Food Co.
Univest Corp.
DowDupont/Pioneer Seeds
MM Weaver, Inc.
Melvin Weaver & Sons
Lancaster Farming
AgChoice and Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit

Bronze Sponsors
Fulton Bank
American Dairy Association North East
King's AgriSeeds

Bottom Line Ag Supply
Timac Agro

Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112