NEWS YOU CAN USE  ~  MAY 7, 2021
A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Rick Bieber from north central South Dakota to Headline Summer Field Days
Rick Bieber, a no-till farmer in a region with only 16 inches of rain per year, will serve as the keynote speaker for the No-Till Alliance field days on July 21 and 23.  Rick farms 5,000 acres of cropland and also has 5,000 acres of rangeland for a 400-head cow/calf operation. He has been in a continuous no-till system for well over two decades and added mixed cover crops to his operation in the late 90’s. These practices are used on all his main crops of hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, corn, flax, peas, soybeans, safflower and alfalfa.

Rick is intensely interested in keeping the farm operation economically viable and is a strong advocate of diverse crop rotations and profitability for successful no-till and cover crop systems.
Program Being Developed for Summer Field Days 
As previously announced, the Alliance will host field days on July 21 at the Roger Rohrer farm in Strasbourg, PA and July 23 on the William Thiele farm in Cabot, PA. Both will be preceded by a "Meeting of the Minds" dinner the evening before.

The full programs of presentations, demonstrations and field plots are being developed now, so if there is a particular issue or topic you would like to have addressed, please contact any director or administrative coordinator Jay Howes at jhowes@pennag.com.

As a preview, attendees at the July 21 event will get to see a rainfall simulator in action. This simulation is a very graphic demonstration of the water retention capacity of soils with different management histories. Stay tuned for more details!
Ag Progress Days Set for August
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic halted many events, including Ag Progress Days. 2021 is looking up, as the date is a go and set for August 10, 11 and 12!

With over 400 exhibitors from the United States and Canada, there is something for everyone to enjoy at no cost as parking and admission are free. The show is hosted by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and showcases educational programs, current research, and the latest innovations in agricultural equipment and technology.

As in years past, the Alliance will have significant presence at the show with educational materials, demonstrations personal interaction with attendees.
Soil Health Workshop at Director Peckman’s Farm 
A soil health workshop was well attended on April 14 at the farm of Director Ben Peckman. Featured was the always popular hands-on demonstration of how tillage practices affect soil health by Director Leroy Bupp. Also included was an informal farmer panel discussing their experience with equipment set-up, planting techniques, cover crop seeding rates and mixes and related management practices. 
 
Finally, a discussion of how to promote natural pest predator populations proved to be very interesting to those in attendance.

(Pictured (above, right) is Ben Peckman, discussing his planter set-up.)
Reminder: Use the PA No-Till Alliance Website as a Resource
Members should check out the Alliance website (panotill.org) for copies of the useful “guides” produced by our farmer members:

  • No-till Tips
  • Cover Crop Guide
  • Planting into Green Cover
  • Plus links to other useful resources

Additionally you will find an updated “Advisor List” with contact information for each director and information about their experience with specific crops, drills, planters and other practices. Each would be happy to answer any questions fellow no-tillers using the same equipment or management practices may have.
Ag Articles of Interest
Conservation Reserve Program Boosted
On April 21, 2021, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA will open enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with higher payment rates, new incentives and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. Additionally, USDA is announcing investments in partnerships to increase climate-smart agriculture, including $330 million in 85 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials.

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to leverage USDA conservation programs for climate mitigation, including continuing to invest in innovation partnership programs like RCPP and On-Farm Trials as well as strengthening programs like CRP to enhance their impacts. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 4 million new acres in CRP by raising rental payment rates and expanding the number of incentivized environmental practices allowed under the program.

Per the USDA, “CRP is one of the world’s largest voluntary conservation programs with a long track record of preserving topsoil, sequestering carbon, and reducing nitrogen runoff, as well providing healthy habitat for wildlife. CRP is a powerful tool when it comes to climate mitigation, and acres currently enrolled in the program mitigate more than 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). If USDA reaches its goal of enrolling an additional 4 million acres into the program, it will mitigate an additional 3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent and prevent 90 million pounds of nitrogen and 33 million tons of sediment from running into our waterways each year.”

To target the program on climate change mitigation, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is introducing a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive for CRP general and continuous signups that aims to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate-Smart CRP practices include establishment of trees and permanent grasses, development of wildlife habitat and wetland restoration. The Climate-Smart Practice Incentive is annual, and the amount is based on the benefits of each practice type.

Click here for additional details or to read more.
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Lancaster Farming
MM Weaver and Sons
Stroud Water Research Center

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

Bronze Sponsors
American Dairy Association North East
Bayer CropScience
Fulton Bank
GROWMARK FS
Hostetter Grain, Inc.
King's AgriSeeds
PA Grain Processing, LLC
TIMAC USA
Univest Financial Corporation

Sponsor
Bernard C. Morrissey Insurance, Inc.
Bottom Line Ag Supply
Rosetree Consulting
The Mill
Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112