A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
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Alliance Meeting at Hershey Farms Focuses on Carbon Capture
On March 17, nearly 60 farmers and other interested parties gathered at Hershey Farms in Elizabethtown to learn more about the possibility of financial gain through carbon sequestration programs. The keynote presentation was by Amanda Bahn-Ziegler who presented information on Truterra’s, a Land of Lakes subsidiary, recently released TruCarbon program.

Those in attendance agreed it was eye-opening to hear of the potential financial benefit to a farmer who documents their carbon sequestration through a program like Truterra’s or other public or private platform and has them aggregated with others and then sold to outside corporate entities. However, it was also noted that there were enormous recordkeeping requirements as well as uncertainties about how practices were to documented and how long they needed to be maintained among other questions.

A major point of discussion was that farmers who, like many Alliance members, have been implementing practices like no-till and cover crops which, among other benefits, capture carbon will get little or no credit for what they have already done since the focus is on new practices.

Other parts of the program dealt with new ideas on cover crop mixes, the 4R Alliance program a variety of pesticide issues. However, it was the emerging issue of carbon credits that generated the most discussion and general agreement that “it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.” If interested, the full power point presentation is available by contacting administrator Jay Howes at
An Early Checklist For Evaluating Carbon Platforms
Recently, the Janzen Ag Law blog commented on carbon capture platforms and provided an early checklist for farmers considering various carbon capture platforms:
The market is buzzing with carbon reduction platforms designed to pay farmers for following established carbon reduction protocols. Indigo Ag, ESMC, FBN, Bayer/Climate Corporation, Nori and Nutrien are just some of the players in these new carbon reduction platforms for row crop and grain farmers. Livestock producers are also seeing changes in how they produce proteins driving by the buyers of these commodities. What all of these efforts have in common—they all rely on data from the farmer to verify compliance.
That means more data collection from farmers. Here’s a checklist for farmers and other users of these platforms when reviewing the contract terms offered by these new carbon reduction platforms:

  • Does the platform minimize the loss of other future opportunities for the farmer that may arise from climate change?
  • Does the platform collect only as much data as necessary to verify compliance with the carbon reduction protocols?
  • Is ag data collected by the platform used only for the intended purpose stated by the aggregator?
  • Does the carbon credit buyer also commit to keep individual farmer data confidential?
  • Is the carbon reduction platform “pre-competitive”? Does it allow any similarly situated producer to participate?
  • Does money from the business buying the carbon credits flow down to the farmer implementing the required production practices?
For any carbon reduction platform to work, it likely requires a long-term commitment. That’s why many of these platforms require 10+ year obligations. This is all the more reason for farmers to consider the future implications for their farm when signing up for one of the new carbon reduction platforms.
(Information courtesy of Janzen Ag Tech Blog)
Director Ben Peckman to Host Early Soil Health Field Day
No-Till director Ben Peckman will host a Soil Health Field Workshop titled, Does Your Soil Need a Check Up?, on Wednesday, April 14 from 10 a.m. - noon.

The event will include:
  • A Hands-On Demonstration of Soil Health from a Farmer's Perspective, Leroy Bupp
  • How to Promote Populations of Natural Pest Predators
  • Q&A with a Grower's Panel
  • Hands-On Cover Crop and Soil Health Information

The event will be held outdoors and is free, however registrations are required. Registrations are required by April 9. Call 717-264-5499 or email to register today.
Planning Underway for Summer Field Days
July 21st at the Roger Rohrer farm in Strasburg, PA (Lancaster Co.) and July 23rd at the William Thiele farm in Cabot, PA (Butler Co.) have been set as the dates for the two Alliance summer soil health field days. Both will be preceded the evening before by an informal “Meeting of the Minds” dinner and discussion. Plan now to attend one or both of these full-day programs of speakers on current topics, field demonstrations and farmer-led panels. Stay tuned for further details to be available in the near future!
Soil Health Academy – Oct. 26-28
On October 26-28, the Alliance is cooperating with the Soil Health Academy in an intensive 3-day training entitled “Transitional Regenerative Dairying” at Schrack Farms in Loganton, PA. The Soil Health Academy features Ray Archuleta and Gabe Brown, among others, as educators who will provide instruction on how “to increase profitability, build resiliency into your land, decrease input costs and improve the nutrient density and marketability of the agricultural products you produce.” Stay tuned for more details.
Ag Articles of Interest
Initiative Announced: USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers
USDA Reopens Program Sign-Up to a Larger Share of Producers
Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is establishing new programs and efforts to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. The new initiative—USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers—will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the new programs.
The Department will also develop rules for new programs that will put a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesters, as well as provide support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuel, among others. Existing programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will fall within the new initiative and, where statutory authority allows, will be refined to better address the needs of producers.

USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has committed at least $2.5 million to improve outreach for CFAP 2 and will establish partnerships with organizations with strong connections to socially disadvantaged communities to ensure they are informed and aware of the application process.

Click here to read more.
Final Ruling on DEP Fees for CAFO's
On March 16, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) cast a final ruling on the DEP permit application and annual fees for WQM and NPDES permits. DEP published draft fee increases in 2019/2020 and accepted public comment which has led to the following final ruling by the EQB.

  • Manure Storage and Wastewater Impoundment for a new structure the fee will be $1,500 and for an amendment or transfer, the fees remain the same at $500 and $250 respectfully. 
  • For a CAFO, the application fee will be $500 and the Annual Fee will be $500. It is important to note the proposed application and annual fees for CAFO’s were much higher. 
We are pleased to see DEP considering the numerous comments from legislators and industry which are reflected in DEP’s action to not subject agriculture to excessive increase in fees.
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Lancaster Farming
MM Weaver and Sons
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
Hostetter Grain, Inc.
King's AgriSeeds
PA Grain Processing, LLC
Univest Financial Corporation

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