NEWS YOU CAN USE  ~  MAY 14, 2020
A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Planning for Summer Field Days Continues Despite COVID-19 Uncertainties
As previously reported, the Alliance has scheduled two summer Soil Health Field Days for late July. On July 23, a field day at the Mark Rohrbach farm in Catawissa (Columbia Co.), PA is planned. This will be preceded by the popular “Meeting of the Minds” informal dinner and program the evening before. Field day activities then move to the western side of the state to visit the Ryan Graham farm in Butler (Butler Co.) on July 24.

Despite uncertainties related travel, public gatherings, etc. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance board of directors remains optimistic that these events can be held as scheduled and are planning accordingly.

The keynote speaker for each day will be Zeb Winslow from Scotland Neck, North Carolina. A fifth generation farmer with 800 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, Zeb has been developing an integrated soil health management system since the late 1990’s. He will address how this system incorporates the four core soil health concepts of maximizing diversity, minimizing disturbance, and keeping living roots in the soil and maintaining a residue cover year-round. 

The program at each venue will also include demonstration cover crop plots, farmer-owned equipment on display and field demonstrations. New this year will be a demonstration of how a drone can be used for seeding cover crops and other management practices. Also new will be a discussion of how grazing cover crops might diversify and maximize their benefits.

The Alliance leadership team will continue to monitor the situation with respect to COVID-19 imposed restrictions and keep members informed. But at this point, plan on attending one of these informative field days in July!
Coronavirus Disruptions and the Need for Reliable Information
All of us have had lives and businesses impacted to one degree or another by the spread of the coronavirus and the restrictions imposed. As a result, constant news stories, floods of emails and innumerable websites seem to appear daily, or almost hourly, to address a wide variety of virus-related issues.

For farmers, two particular resources may be the best sources of timely and accurate information. The PA Department of Agriculture has a COVID-19 link on their website ( ) which will then lead you to a Guidance and Resources page. There you will find a series of specific and detailed guides and fact sheets pertaining to various aspects of the agricultural industry.

Also, the Penn State Extension service has developed a one-stop shop for all of their COVID-19 services and information, making it easy to locate information of interest to you. Quickly access the following resources: Prevention, Personal and Family Resources, Food Safety and Food Business Resources, Agriculture Industry Resources, Business Resources and Community, Nonprofit and Local Government Resources.
Ag Articles of Interest
PennAg Creates "We are PA Agriculture" Video
PennAg Industries Association, the contracted administrator for the No-Till Alliance, recently produced a video celebrating “We are PA Agriculture – Keeping You Fed and Fueled.” Featuring all aspects of agriculture, it serves as a reminder of the critical role we all play in keeping our fellow citizens “fed and fueled.” 

Since it is distributed via PennAg’s social media outlets which are followed by numerous non-ag people, it also serves as a reminder to the general public of the essential role agriculture plays in all our lives. As Chris Herr, Executive Vice-President of PennAg observed, “In these trying times it's important that we in agriculture remain positive and convey to the public how critical our role is."
Farm Survey for Farmers in Lancaster, York, Adams and Franklin Counties
Deadline Extended to May 15
All farmers in Lancaster, York, Franklin and Adams Counties are urged to complete a Farm Conservation Practices Inventory survey, whether they received the survey in the mail or not. If a farmer in these four counties has not received a mailing from the Survey Research Center but would like to fill out the survey, they can visit  a nd follow the instructions to request a code number to complete it online.
In order to allow for enough some additional time to complete the survey, the deadline has been extended to May 15.   *This will be the last extension provided, as data analysis, training and farm visit portions of the survey project will need to happen soon in order to stay on track for reporting of these practices for inclusion in the Chesapeake Bay Model.
Farmers who do not receive a second copy of the survey in the mail can still return the original surveys they received in early March, or they can visit the website to complete it online.
Soil Health "Thought of the Month"
“Don't measure results in one year. No-till and cover crops are only tools in a system that over time uses biology as an important aspect of the management scheme. Diversity of both cash and cover crops need to be implemented if you want to start seeing real success.”
Jim Hershey
A Reminder from Jim Hershey, President, PA No-Till Alliance

“...even amidst all this, as farmers, we remain true to our mission of providing our friends, neighbors, country and world with a safe and abundant supply of food and fiber. Likewise, as members of the No-Till Alliance, we remain true to our vision of “ Using no-till systems to improve our soil quality, productivity and profitability for future generations.”  

“…in these trying times, it’s important to remember that our work goes on and our goals remain constant. I wish all of you nothing but the best as we all navigate these uncharted waters…”
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
Univest Financial Corporation

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