Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance 

News You Can Use 

August 31, 2016



Last month, the PA No-Till Alliance hosted its annual summer field day in Franklin County, PA. Roughly 110 individuals participated in the event, which was deemed a huge success by all who were involved! The Board of Directors would like to thank all who participated, our partners, and exhibitors. The event would not have been possible without the support of our host, Ben Peckman and family. We thank them for their generosity and welcoming spirit!


After the Field Day, the Alliance held its Annual Meeting where directors Lucas Criswell, Gordon England, Dean James, Matt Ulmer, and Alvin Shafer were nominated to the board. Lisa Blazure and Steve Groff have also been appointed to the board to fill vacant positions. Our team thanks these volunteers for their service. Team Versant also thanks Dave McLaughlin who retired as Vice President. His voice of reason and constant advocacy for farmers and soil health will be greatly missed during the board meetings. We thank him for his leadership.


Lawmakers are out of Harrisburg until the end of September to meet with constituents. While at Ag Progress Days, an informational hearing was held on HB 1265, introduced by Rep. Lawrence. The bill amends the milk marketing law. The hearing was well attended and proved that lawmakers are dedicated to supporting the dairy industry in the commonwealth. They are seeking a solution that will meet the needs of all dairy industry stakeholders.


In an effort to promote Cover Crops, signs are available to Alliance members. For more information, or to get yours, contact Caleb Wright at the Alliance office at




If you are looking for a new funding opportunity, be sure to check out The site captures a variety of lending sources for agricultural producers.


The board has been actively engaged in planning events for this fall and summer. Be on the lookout for more details as the work of the Alliance continues! We wish you a safe and happy Labor Day!



Team Versant



Ag Articles of Interest


Livestock added to hands-on ag program
Five Future Farmer of America students at Midd-West High School on Tuesday plucked dozens of gourds from a pumpkin patch at the school farm off Long Lane in Middleburg, which next year will feature a barn with livestock. The idea to build a barn, which FFA co-adviser and agricultural science... - Sunbury Daily Item



'Dairy farmers need help now': Local milk producers encouraged by USDA cheese purchase plan
With the national cheese surplus at a 30-year high, local dairy farmers are hopeful after this week's announcement that the United States Department of Agriculture would pay $20 million for 11 million pounds of cheese to help boost falling dairy prices. On Tuesday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for the purchase... - Johnstown Tribune-Democrat



DEP moves to enforce farms' manure plans
HARRISBURG -- Technicians from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection plan to visit farms in “high priority areas” of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to check manure handling and erosion controls. DEP this week sent out 2,000 letters to farmers selected at random,... - Chambersburg Public Opinion



Penn State Extension offers master gardener training
Training classes for those who would like to become a Penn State Extension master gardener will begin Oct. 6 and end in April at the Penn State Extension office, 401 Candlelight Drive, Suite 220, Ebensburg. Classes will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. After training, master gardeners volunteer to help people solve their... - Johnstown Tribune-Democrat



Pennsylvania preserves its 5,000th farm, & it's in Lancaster County
Banner celebrating milestone reached when a Lancaster County property became the 5,000th preserved farm in Pennsylvania. Lancaster County boasts more than a quarter of the preserved farms in Pennsylvania. So it was fitting that when the state became the first in the nation to... - Lancaster Intelligencer Journal



Causer: Ag committees hear concerns of PA dairy industry
PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE — Environmental and permitting hurdles are among the greatest challenges facing the future of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry, lawmakers were told Wednesday at a joint meeting of the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees at Penn State’s Ag... - Bradford Era



State’s Clean and Green program modified to provide tax relief
August 11, 2016 The Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act, commonly referred to as the Clean and Green Program, was modified last month to give some tax relief to farmers and landowners. more »» - Warren Times Observer



Our view: Urban farming is smart use for vacant Erie land
ERIE, Pa. -- Erie City Councilman Cas Kwitowski remembers when commercial farming in Erie was not so unusual. In that era, he said, immigrant family farms lined West 38th Street. Greater Erie's growth and development subsumed that landscape over time. But now, as the city's population and industrial base contract, vacant lots... - Erie Times-News



Grants and loans available for home repairs
Homeowners in rural areas who need house repairs but can’t afford regular loans may be eligible for participation in the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants Program. The grants provide loans for low-income homeowners to repair, improve or... - Somerset Daily



3 local counties under drought watch
HARRISBURG - Venango, Clarion and Forest are among 34 Pennsylvania counties under a drought watch declaration issued Tuesday by the state Department of Environmental Protection. A drought warning was issued for Potter County following a meeting of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force where members evaluated recent data that... - Oil City Derrick



DEP: Pollution, invasives threaten Susquehanna
Codorus Creek, Yellow Breeches and other area streams are among tributaries harmed by agricultural runoff. Agricultural pollution and invasive species continue to plague the Susquehanna River in York County, the Department of Environmental Protection said Monday in its annual water quality report.... - York Daily



Look Up: Drones will take to the skies capturing Clearfield Co. Fair
CLEARFIELD – Fair goers and newspaper readers will be able to see the Clearfield County Fair from a different perspective next week. The Courier-Express/Tri-County Sunday has partnered with the Drone Guys of Kane to fly high over the fourth largest county fair in Pennsylvania.... - DuBois Courier-Express



USDA - Weekly Crop Progress & Condition for the Week Ending August 1, 2016
  (Press Release)



USDA Rural Development an option for local residents
For those willing to take out a loan to either obtain housing or repair their homes, there is much to consider regarding the USDA Rural Development Program. - Uniontown Herald-Standard



Man who planted corn in York City: I'm 'planting life'
Gumercindo Minaya thinks flowers are a waste of time — you can't eat them. So when he turned his daughter's yard into a massive garden, he didn't plant marigolds or roses. He planted corn. Rows of the tall stalks now fill the backyard of her corner lot on Madison... - York Daily



Cover crops part 1: Types, managing different plants
August 1, 2016 LEWISTOWN — This is a first in a three part series about cover crops. The three stories will cover different aspects of cover crops from the types, to managing them and even potential disadvantages. more »» - Lewistown Sentinel

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