A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Inaugural Alliance Soil Health Meeting in Western PA a Success
On February 25 amidst high winds, blowing snow and some area power outages the Alliance sponsored the first of two Soil Health meetings focused on Cover Crops and No-Till: Making It Work. The event kicked off with Leroy Bupp’s always popular hands-on soil health demonstration. The meeting drew about 75 interested and attentive participants from at least 14 different Pennsylvania counties, as well as registrations from Ohio and New York.

Featured speaker Loran Steinlage, a no-till and cover crop innovator from Iowa, presented two different sessions entitled “ Adaption vs. Adoption” during which he stressed that on his farm, practices were continually evolving as he “adapted” to new conditions and an increasing knowledge base. Most recently he has begun inter-seeding and relay cropping. As one attendee observed, “he presented enough thought provoking ideas that you had to listen closely just to keep up.”

Other sessions addressed the basics and importance of building soil organic matter, the connection between healthy soils and water quality and a panel of local farmers, including Alliance board members Bill Cannon and Ryan Graham, discussing their experiences with cover cropping and no-till on their own farms. 

As Alliance President Jim Hershey observed after the meeting, “it was encouraging to see so many farmers, from a part of the state where the Alliance has not previously hosted events, willing to step out of the box and embrace learning about soil health.”
Featured speaker Loran Steinlage presenting on "Adaption vs. Adoption."
Steve Groff provides an informative message regarding soil health.
Leroy Bupp talks about the importance of maintaining good soil health.
A farmer panel consisting of Ryan Graham, Bill Cannon and Mike Ohler spoke to their experiences with no-till, cover crops and planting green.
Eastern PA Soil Health Meeting Well Attended
The day following the Western PA meeting, February 26, 115 people attended a similar meeting in East Earl, PA. Along with Loran Steinlage’s stimulating presentations, participants heard from Gideon Stoltfus of Pequea Planter about no-till and cover crop experiences on Plain Sect farms. This was followed by board member Steve Groff relating his experiences in improving soil health in vegetable crop production utilizing the same cover crop and no-till practices engaged with row crops.

Remarks from Kelly Shenk, EPA Region 3 Ag Liaison, and a farmer panel, including board members Jeff Frey and Jim Harbach, discussing managing manure application in cover crop systems rounded out the day. This was well received by those in attendance, as one attendee observed, “farmers always learn best from other farmers.”
Thank You to Our Meeting Sponsors
In addition to our valued Annual Sponsors many other business or organizations provided financial support for the two recent Soil Health meetings. 

At the western meeting in Clarion:
  • PA Grain Processing
  • Local Seed
  • Mercer Co. Conservation District
  • Seneca Resources
  • T.R. Shearer
  • American Crop Insurance

At the eastern meeting in East Earl:
  • Binkley & Hurst
  • Ephrata National Bank
  • Perdue AgriBusiness

The Alliance is very appreciative that these entities see value in the Alliance mission and are willing to to be supportive of our goals.
Reminder: Individual Mentoring and Problem Solving is Available
New to no-till? Just starting to use cover crops? Thinking about planting green? Have questions about where to start? We’re here to help. Many members of the Alliance board of directors have decades of experience that they are willing to share with others for free. Whether it be questions about planter set-up, a detailed discussion of cover crop mixes or rotations or whatever else you have questions about do not hesitate to contact any board member directly (find contact info at ) or email Jay Howes at and he can help direct you to an appropriate member.
Also, there are links under the “resources” tab at  to each of our simple guides: “Planting Green,” “Cover Crop Guide” and “No-Till Tips.”
Reminder to Renew Your Alliance Membership for 2019
If you haven’t yet renewed your PA No-Till Alliance membership for 2019, there is still time to do so for FREE by filling out a Cover Crop and No-Till survey. For details contact Alliance Administrative Coordinator Jay Howes at 717-574-4510 or .
Upcoming Events
March 7 (Tomorrow!)
Western PA Soil Health Workshop, Prospect, PA

March 14
Connecting Soils and Profits: No-Till, Cover Crops, Soil Health & Grazing, Pine Barn Inn, Danville, PA
( Click here for agenda and additional information. Registration is required by Friday, March 8.)

June 5
Watershed Expo, Manheim Farm Show, Manheim, PA

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

August 13-15
Ag Progress Days, Rock Springs, PA
Ag Articles of Interest
FDA Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food
American consumers seek a safe, diverse, and abundant food supply that is simultaneously affordable and available throughout the year. To help meet these consumer demands, the United States imports about 15 percent of its overall food supply. Today more than 200 countries or territories and roughly 125,000 food facilities plus farms supply approximately 32 percent of the fresh vegetables, 55 percent of the fresh fruit, and 94 percent of the seafood that Americans consume annually. But this increasingly globalized and complex marketplace has also placed new challenges on our food safety system.
In 2011, Congress passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it. Over the last several years, the agency has developed prevention-based standards applicable to foreign and domestic food growers, manufacturers, processors, packers, and holders. In addition to establishing new food safety standards, FSMA has granted FDA new and supplementary oversight and enforcement authorities to ensure industry is meeting these standards. While inspectional oversight remains the primary tool for domestic food producers and is an important tool for foreign producers, Congress determined that more was needed to control the food safety risks associated with imported foods.
Determining the best way to use the full range of available tools across the different segments of the international food-supply chain — in ways that decrease public health risks while maintaining a level playing field for domestic and foreign producers — requires both dexterity and pragmatism. This strategy document describes how FDA is integrating the new import oversight tools with existing tools as part of a comprehensive approach to imported food safety. 
The strategy is guided by four goals:
·      Goal 1: Food Offered for Import Meets U.S. Food Safety Requirements
·      Goal 2: FDA Border Surveillance Prevents Entry of Unsafe Foods
·      Goal 3: Rapid and Effective Response to Unsafe Imported Food
·      Goal 4: Effective and Efficient Food Import Program
Click here to learn more about the several methods the agency is using to accomplish these goals including strategies for objectives.
PA Farm Bill Unveiled
In February, Governor Tom Wolf joined Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to unveil the PA Farm Bill, an historic proposal to provide support for and continued investments in the commonwealth’s agriculture industry. The proposal, which has already gained bipartisan support, was modeled after the governor’s six-point plan to cultivate future generations of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry.
The PA Farm Bill proposal will:
·      Develop New Resources for Agriculture Business Development and Succession Planning
·      Create More Processing Capabilities
·      Remove Regulatory Burdens and Strengthening the State’s Agricultural Business Climate
·      Increase Opportunities for Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Workforce
·      Protect Agricultural Infrastructure
·      Increase Market Opportunities and Make Pennsylvania the Nation’s Leading Organic State
Click here to read entire press release. 
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