NEWS YOU CAN USE  ~  AUGUST 3, 2020
A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Alliance Hosts Two Well Attended Soil Health Field Days
The PA No-Till Alliance summer field day events on July 22, 23 and 24 proved once again to be a popular opportunity to see and hear about many aspects of no-till and cover crop focused farming. It all started Wednesday evening as President Jim Hershey led a lively discussion among 50 people attending the “Meeting of the Minds” dinner at Rohrbach Farms in Catawissa, PA. 

The following day the farm hosted 125 for a full day of presentations and field breakout sessions, including sessions on inter-seeded wheat and soybeans, corn planted into various cover crop mixtures and a new topic for many, grazing cattle on cover crops.

On Friday Alliance director Ryan Graham welcomed 100 interested individuals to his hay and grain farm in Evans City, PA for a somewhat different agenda, but one still focused on the benefits of no-till and cover crops. Again, a highlight for many were the field demonstrations of planting into green cover, laying drainage tile and field scouting with a drone. Also on display were a variety of farmer owned no-till drills and planters which allowed attendees to examine different types of set-ups being used by other farmers.

Here’s the story of both events in pictures provided by director Lisa Blazure…
Zeb Winslow of North Carolina proved to be an engaging keynote speaker as he related what he and his father have learned adopting no-till and cover crop practices on their farm with his presentation “Son, Have You Lost Your Mind?”

He also added, “I’m jealous of the alliance up here. We don’t have this at home. You guys are able to trade ideas and lean on each other, and that’s a great thing.”
Host Mark Rohrbach discussed his test strips utilizing six different combinations of multi-species cover crops and row widths.

Full season soybeans planted into fall seeded wheat is one of the many new practices being tried at Rohrbach farms. Mark Rohrbach commented, “I know we have more to learn, but so far so good.”
At both events, Alliance director Ben Peckman related his early experiences with grazing cover crops as a means of full or partial forage harvest.

This practice is also being employed at Rohrbach Farms.
Alliance Director and field day host Ryan Graham welcomes the crowd to the western PA field day. He and his wife, Roxanne made certain everything went smoothly. 

He also thanked Channel and Nutrien for their generous support in providing lunch and beverages for all attendees.
New to many was Alliance member William Thiele’s demonstration of how a drone can be a used as a valuable tool for field scouting and other agricultural applications. 

This technology is also being explored by Alliance members for other practices such as seeding cover crops into standing corn and inter-seeding.
Likewise, the demonstration of a tile plow inserting drainage tile was a popular feature at Graham Farms.

Ryan indicated that tiles enhance drainage in many fields, which can lead to more uniform seed germination and crop growth.
The Alliance was pleased that Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding joined us for part of the field day at Rohrbach Farms. He complimented the Alliance on “their tireless efforts to share knowledge” on the value of no-till and cover crop practices.

“The philosophy of the No-Till Alliance is being able to demonstrate what you do and share it, and that’s a great model,” noted Secretary Redding.
Ag Articles of Interest
REAP Applications Accepted Starting Today, August 3
The State Conservation Commission will begin accepting 2020-21 REAP Applications today, Monday, August 3, 2020 , on a first-come, first-served basis.
 
Click here to view the 2020-21 REAP Guidelines and Application packet; and a summary of the changes to the program for this round.
 
The 2020-21 REAP Program application packet can also be found on the REAP webpage. 
Clearfield County Summer Field Day - August 7
Join the Clearfield County Conservation District for a Summer Field Day on Friday, August 7 at the Kennis Dairy Farm in Dubois. PA No-Till Alliance Directors, Bill Cannon and Ryan Graham, will be talking about planting green techniques and management.

Topics and presentations include:

  • New Conservation District No-Till Corn Planter Demonstration
  • No-Till and Planting Green: Saving Time and Money
  • No-Till in Tough Soil: Making it Work
  • Product Demonstrations and Presentations
  • Local Farmer Question and Answer

Please call the Clearfield County Conservation District for more information, 814-765-2629.
2020 Ag Progress Days Virtual Experience
Penn State Extension educators and faculty have come together provide a virtual learning program filled with the latest in Ag research and best practices. Choose from more than 46 live webinars and get your questions answered by the experts.  View the live webinar schedule and register online .

On Demand Resources and Tours are also available anytime.  See which featured resources  were chosen just for this special event.

Be sure to check out the  Marketplace , which gives you the opportunity to connect with vendors and sponsors. Click on the floor plan exhibitor booth space or exhibitor listing to view contact information, show specials, and product videos - even arrange for a virtual appointment with your preferred vendor!
Apply Today: $2.5 Million in Conservation Excellence Grants
Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding invites Lancaster and York County farmers to apply for up to $250,000 in Conservation Excellence Grants. The $2.5 million program, created by 2019 PA Farm Bill, funds on-farm measures that reduce erosion and run-off, improving soil and water quality to ultimately sustain agriculture and improve the region’s quality of life.
 
Funds will be administered by the Lancaster and York County Conservation Districts. Lancaster and York County farms have been prioritized for their location along the Susquehanna River that empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Measures funded in these two counties have the greatest potential impact to improve water quality in a region that is home to almost four million Pennsylvanians. Funds may be made available to farms in other counties if available.
 
The application period opened on July 1, and submissions are evaluated on a first-come, first-served basis, according to their potential to meet program criteria. Grant funding may be combined with other public grants, tax credits such as the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP), and private funding.
 
Find applications, instructions and more information about Conservation Excellence Grants on the department’s website. Applications are also available from the Lancaster County Conservation District Office and York Conservation District Office . Completed applications should be returned to the district office for the county in which the applicant’s farm is located. Complete grant program guidelines can also be found in the Pennsylvania Bulletin . Farmers with questions about applying may contact Program Administrator Eric Cromer at 223-666-2556 or ecromer@pa.gov .
Agriculture Department Warns Consumers to Report Unsolicited, Mislabeled Seeds Received by Mail
Last week, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding warned consumers to properly discard and report unordered and mislabeled seeds shipped from overseas. Consumers nationwide have received seeds in packages labeled as jewelry. These seeds may contain plant diseases, weeds or invasive plants that could harm Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and ecosystem.
 
Seeds labelled as jewelry are likely a scam known as "brushing.” Companies boost online sales by purchasing their own products through fake buyer accounts created by the company. The products are shipped to a real address, to someone who didn’t order the item. The seller writes a positive review of their items from the fake buyer account.
 
In the past, scammers have sent empty packages. Recent packages have been filled with unlabeled seeds.
 
Consumers who receive unsolicited seeds are asked to retain the seeds and packaging. If opened, double bag and seal the seeds. Do not plant them or discard loose seeds.
 
Report the package to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) confidential Antismuggling Hotline, 800-877-3835 or email  SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov . USDA will provide further instructions.
 
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s  seed program  licenses seed distributors, and analyzes and certifies seeds to help ensure that seeds are free of pathogens, invasive plants and noxious weeds.
 
For more information on Pennsylvania’s efforts to protect and promote agriculture in Pennsylvania, visit  agriculture.pa.gov .
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Lancaster Farming
MM Weaver and Sons
PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)
Stroud Water Research Center

Silver Sponsors
AgChoice and Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit
DuPont Pioneer
Gro-Mor Plant Food, Inc.
Melvin Weaver & Sons

Bronze Sponsors
American Dairy Association North East
Bayer CropScience
Fulton Bank
King's AgriSeeds
PA Grain Processing, LLC
Univest Financial Corporation

Sponsor
Bottom Line Ag Supply
Hostetter Grain, Inc.
Rosetree Consulting
The Mill
TIMAC USA
Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112