NEWS YOU CAN USE  ~  SEPTEMBER 16, 2019
A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
The Alliance at Ag Progress Days
On each of the three days the Alliance partnered with Ag Progress Days and other Penn State staff in conducting a planting green demonstration. The Ag Progress staff had already planted green at two different times in order to show the corn coming up through the rolled cover at two different stages of growth.

Then, using the research farm planter equipped with a roller, participants were able to watch how this was done. Board members then discussed their own experiences with planting green and answered questions.

(Photo: Alliance president Jim Hershey prepares to address the crowd at Ag Progress Days planting green demo)
The Alliance had a Busy Summer Spreading the Soil Health Message
In our last newsletter we reported on two successful field days, including the annual event at the Hershey Farm in Elizabethtown, PA. In these two events over 300 interested parties learned the latest about no-till, crops and their importance to soil health and water quality.

Equally important, however, to spreading our message are smaller, more localized events. A few of these are highlighted below.

August 5: Director Gordon England coordinated a town hall meeting with Dave Huntsberger in Martinsburg, PA. Focused on planning for fall cover crop planting, 18 local farmers varying degrees of experience with cover crops had what was described as a “very productive discussion.”

August 27: The Alliance partnered with the Northumberland County USDA-NRCS on a twilight meeting focused on “Unlocking the Secrets of the Soil” at the Jeff Pontius Farm in Sunbury, PA. About 75 farmers enjoyed presentations from various experts, including Alliance board members Dean James and Lucas Criswell.
Above Photo: It was interesting to see farm owner Jeff Pontius point out a sign advertising a “No-Till Meeting Here on August 31” and note that was actually from 1983. This certainly demonstrates a long-term commitment to this practice.

Left Photo: Alliance Director Lucas Criswell leads a breakout session on precision ag at the Northumberland Co. twilight meeting.
September 10: Director Leroy Bupp hosted a twilight meeting at his York Co. farm, coordinated by the Penn State Extension Service, where approximately 45 interested parties gathered to learn more about the soil health benefits of cover crops. 

Featured was a soil pit dug into where a field in no-till production for 40 years had been planted with a 10-species cover crop mix following wheat harvest. Extension specialist Sjord Duiker talked attendees through what the soil pit demonstrated, including the high organic matter, water holding capacity, root depth and earthworm activity.

Of particular note was the fact that, with the multi-species mix, there was various roof depth and patterns and other attributes and, especially, a variety of frost tolerance which insured that the soil would be covered until spring planting season.
Photo: The seed mix used for Leroy Bupp's cover crop.
Photo: The cover crop planted after wheat harvest.
Alliance a Partner in a New National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Soil Health Grant
A coalition of groups, with administrative support from the Stroud Water Research Center, has been awarded a significant 3-year grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) intended to further promote soil health and water quality through use of no-till, cover crops and other important conservation practices. This will enable the hiring of a full-time state soil health coordinator and ensure that the Alliance has funds available to support our programs in the years 2020-2022. Watch for more on this exciting initiative in future newsletters.
Announcing…..
On December 9 at Shady Maple in East Earl, PA, the Alliance will be a participant and co-sponsor of the Cocalico/Elanco agricultural forum titled, "What is your Farming Legacy? Improve the Economic Performance of Your Farm. ” 

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting event!
Upcoming Events
September 17
PA 4R Alliance Field Day
Buser Farms, York, PA

October 22-23
Keystone Crops & Soils Conference
Harrisburg, PA

December 9
Cocalico/Elanco Agricultural Forum
East Earl, PA

January 4-12
PA Farm Show
Harrisburg, PA
Ag Articles of Interest
Save the Date for the 2019 Keystone Crops and Soils Conference
Mark your calendars and plan to attend the annual Keystone Crops and Soils Conference. Scheduled for Tuesday, October 22, and Wednesday, October 23, 2019, at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey, the conference will once again provide a variety of general and breakout sessions offering ample opportunities to earn Certified Crop Adviser CEUs, Act 38 Nutrient Management credits and PA Pesticide points. 
 
Rooms are available at the host hotel at the reduced rate of $115 per night plus taxes and fees. To book, call 717-469-0661 by October 6 to place your reservation. Be sure to mention the Keystone Crops and Soils Conference to take advantage of the block rate.
 
Registration is expected to open very soon. Stay tuned for more details on the agenda, fees and how to reserve your seat at the conference. For questions or concerns, contact Jessica Darr at jdarr@pennag.com or 717-651-5920.
PDA Encourages Growers to Sign Up for New Crop Registry
During Ag Progress Days, Secretary Redding announced that a new registry is available for Pennsylvania producers to prevent pesticide use from affecting their land and farms.
 
“While pesticide applicators are conscientious about protecting against drift, it can at times be an unavoidable threat,” said Sec. Redding. “FieldWatch will give users the tools they need to proactively safeguard their surroundings and provide for enhanced outreach amongst Pennsylvanians and their neighbors.”
 
FieldWatch is a free, voluntary program that allows participants to register their land to protect it from chemical drift, which can affect organic production, herbicide-sensitive crops and pollinator protection efforts.
 
The program encourages communication between sensitive crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators, and will allow them to map fields or pollinator gardens using a software program. Pesticide and herbicide applicators can also notify growers and beekeepers of spray applications through the program.
 
For more information about the program, visit www.fieldwatch.com .
Learn How to Improve Your Nutrient Use Efficiency At Upcoming 4R Field Day
The PA 4R Alliance will be hosting a field day in York, PA tomorrow, Tuesday, September 17 to share about nutrient stewardship practices that farmers can use to improve their bottom line while preventing loss of excess nutrients to our waterways.
 
The event will be held at Buser Farms (47 Buser Farm Lane, York) from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Topics will include fall manure application, the use of manure additives, using tissue samples to manage nutrients, managing nitrogen for increased yields, as well as a farmer panel.
 
This event is FREE and lunch (catered by Big Bob’s BBQ) will be provided. RSVP at www.4Rmidatlantic.com/events . Act 38 CECs will be available (2 credits).
 
For more information, or to RSVP by phone, call 717-232-6001 ext. 225 or email katie.turner@tnc.org .
Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program Extended
The Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program has been extended for a third year! This program is open to all agricultural operators/ landowners in Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through this program, folks can be reimbursed for fees they’ve paid to consultants to create manure management plans, nutrient management plans and agricultural erosion and sediment control plans.

Reimbursement funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Information is available on DEP’s website . Visit the below links for additional information:

·      cover sheet (explaining the program) and landowner registration form
·      FAQ
 
TeamAg and Larson Design will again serve as county-level coordinators. Please refer questions about the program to them. Their contact information is in the cover sheet.
 
Registration deadline: April 1, 2020.
 
Note: There’s a $6,000 limit per farming operation in this program cycle. Planned acres reimbursed previously aren’t eligible to be reimbursed again. Coordinators are ONLY accepting the updated forms dated 8/2019. They will not accept anything on the old forms. 
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Stroud Water Research Center
PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)
PA Department of Environmental Protection

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
Bayer Crop Science
The Mill

Sponsor
Bottom Line Ag Supply
Timac Agro
Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112