A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Ag Progress Days a Success
Thank you to all who visited Ag Progress Days last month. Even through rain, mud, heat, and humidity, it was a great three days of promoting agriculture, visiting with members, and meeting friends both old and new!
Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days (APD) is Pennsylvania's largest outdoor agricultural exposition. Firmly rooted in education, the 55-acre agricultural equipment expo site features the most elaborate displays of agricultural technology and programs.

New for 2018, the Alliance partnered with APD officials for a live planting green demonstration. Though the wet conditions made it difficult the demonstration did take place on Wednesday and Thursday with considerable interest and some good discussion. Plans are to continue this effort in 2019.

A highlight of the activity around the Alliance tent was the addition of board member Leroy Bupp’s interactive display of working scale model no-till and other equipment. A “hit” with numerous kids (and many adults!) it provided a springboard for discussion of no-till, cover crops and soil health with their parents and other interested individuals.

A special thanks to all the directors and other members that volunteered their time at the Alliance booth and during the demonstrations!
Alliance Board Sets Dates for 2019 Activities
At a September 5 board meeting, plans for next year were finalized as follows:

  • Tuesday, Feburary 26, Soil Health meeting (Shady Maple, East Earl, Lancaster County)

  • Thursday, February 28, Soil Health meeting (Clarion County)

Both will feature well-known no-till farmer from Iowa, Loran Steinlager, as Keynote speaker and cover numerous other current and emerging topics. WATCH FOR MORE DETAILS TO BE AVAILABLE SOON! (Note: this pair of meetings will replace the December meeting held in recent years at Shady Maple.)

  • Thursday, July 25, Annual Summer Soil Health Field Day (Jim Hershey Farm, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County)
Brazilian No-Till Farmers Visit
On August 21, Jeff and Sue Frey hosted a group of no-till farmers from southern Brazil. This group of Brazilians call themselves "friends of the land." The average farm size for the area is less than 100 acres and topography is similar to eastern Pennsylvania.
No-Till Alliance Receives Leadership Training Excellence Award
Congratulations to the PA No-Till Alliance Board on receiving the Leadership Training Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission (SCC) this year. Award recognition states: "Since its inception in 2005, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance has been dedicated to training farmers and conservation professional in the science and practical art of no-till farming. The Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance was formed by a group of like-minded producers that have extensive experience using no-till systems in their operations and know the many benefits that no-till can offer. As a board comprised of active farmers and no-till practitioners, their unique farmer-to-farmer approach to education and training has established them as the go-to organization for all things no-till related. Through their vision of using no-till systems to improve our soil quality, productivity and profitability for future generations, and their mission to promote the successful application of no-till through shared ideas, experiences, education, and new technology, the organization has reached out to farmers to share with them both successes and failures in applying no-till techniques across the variable landscape of Pennsylvania farms. The Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance has helped change the Commonwealth's conservation landscape over the last decade through their dedication and determination to help other farmers successfully implement no-till systems and to adopt soil health practices that will improve farm profitability, soil health, and water quality."

[Pictured below (L-R): Karl Brown, Executive Secretary, SCC; Greg Hostetter, Deputy Secretary, PA Dept. of Agriculture; Dean James, PA No-Till Board Member; Jim Hershey, PA No-Till President; Patrick McDonnell, Secretary of PA DEP.]
Upcoming Events
Keystone Group Agricultural Seeds Field Day - September 13
Keystone Group Agricultural Seeds (360 Leiser Road, New Columbia) will host a field day on Thursday, September 13 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. The event features keystone speaker Dr. Dwayne Beck, SDSU. Dr. Beck is the Research Manager at Dakota Lakes Research Farm and professor at SDSU. He has spoke at numerous meetings globally and is renowned for his research, teaching, and unique approach to managing ecosystems used for producing food. Dr. Beck's expertise includes all aspects of no-till including crop rotations, fertilizer placement, equipment, and livestock integration.

Also speaking at the event are:

  • Bill Deitrick, District Manager of the Union County Conservation District
  • Dr. Alyssa Collins, Crop Pathology, SEAREC
  • Anna Busch, Agronomy Extension Educator, Penn State

Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from experts in the field!
4R Nutrient Stewardship Field Day - October 4
The PA 4R Alliance will host a Nutrient Stewardship Field Day at the Growmark Research Farm located at the Milton Hershey School Farm. The event is free of charge, but RSVP is required. Lunch is provided. CCA and NM CEUs will be available. This event is open to farmers, agribusinesses, legislators, conservation groups, and anyone interested in learning more about 4R nutrient management technologies.
Keystone Crops and Soils Conference - Oct 23 – 24
Time once again for the annual Keystone Crops and Soils Conference, Tuesday, October 23 - Wednesday, October 24 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey in Grantville, PA.

This continuing education focused conference brings together those engaged in agronomic and nutrient management consulting with the goal of providing the most up-to-date information affecting Pennsylvania’s crop farmers. Stay tuned for registration information to be available soon! Interested in sponsoring the event? Click here to download a sponsorship form.
Ag Articles of Interest
Opportunities Available for Members of PA Agricultural Community to Obtain FREE Legal Services
The Penn State Law Rural Economic Development Clinic provides law students with practical legal experience working with clients in the food and agricultural sectors. Working under the close supervision of law faculty and staff attorneys who are licensed Pennsylvania attorneys, student attorneys have represented clients in a variety of legal matters including the preparation of leases for the rental of farmland and farm facilities, CSA membership agreements, farmers’ market rules, liability waivers, and documents for the purchase of a business. Student attorneys also have provided legal advice to clients regarding the establishment and operation of various business entity types and assisted those clients in the formation of appropriate business entities. Although the student attorneys cannot represent clients in litigation matters, they can work with clients on matters that involve the review or preparation of any legal document as well as matters that involve conducting legal research and providing advice on a specific legal issue.
The Rural Economic Development Clinic is now accepting applications for its Fall 2018 semester. To take advantage of this opportunity, interested individuals and organizations should send an email to providing a detailed explanation of the specific legal services desired along with appropriate background information. The Clinic may not be able to provide services to all who request, but we will do our best to serve the greatest number of clients possible - consistent with our resources and the legal expertise of the student attorneys.    
Any questions regarding the Rural Economic Development Clinic can be directed to Ross Pifer at or (814) 865-3723.
Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program
The Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program has been extended for another year due to the strong response from Pennsylvania’s agricultural community. Funds will be available on a first-come, first served basis through spring 2019.
One or more of the following plans developed after January 1, 2017 are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Manure Management Plans and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control Plans (Ag E&S Plans) that are required by and meet Pennsylvania’s Chapter 91 and Chapter 102 regulations. 

  • Act 38 Nutrient Management Plans (required if the operation meets certain animal density and/or animal number thresholds). 

  • Conservation Plans that are used in place of Ag E&S Plans (only if the Conservation Plans also meet the State requirements outlined in Chapter 102). 
Plans developed by NRCS, using NRCS funding, or for REAP tax credit, are not eligible for assistance under this program.  Plans developed for acres previously reimbursed under this program are not eligible for assistance
Note : Agricultural operators/landowners may qualify for reimbursement for more than one plan up to a maximum amount of $6,000 per operator/landowner. 
Reimbursement funds are allocated based on impact to the Chesapeake Bay and are available on a first come, first served basis. Contact the coordinator for your county to register for fee reimbursement. Registration deadline is April 1, 2019. Visit the DEP website for more information.  
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
Each year, a number of sponsors step-up to partner with the Alliance in fulfilling our mission to promote the successful application of no-till through shared ideas, experiences, education, and new technology. Without their invaluable support, the Alliance would not be able to have the success it enjoys. Thank you to those who have renewed or initiated new sponsorships for 2018:

Gold Sponsors
Stroud Water Research Center
Univest Bank and Trust

Silver Sponsors
AgChoice Farm Credit
DuPont Pioneer
Gro-Mor Plant Food Co.
Lancaster Farming
MM Weaver and Sons
Melvin R. Weaver Crop Protection

Bronze Sponsors
American Dairy Association North East
Binkley & Hurst, LP
King's AgriSeeds
Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112