A monthly collection of recent news, upcoming events, and articles of interest
Alliance News
Two Great Alliance Summer Field Days in July
On July 25, at Hershey Farm in Elizabethtown, PA the Alliance hosted a diverse crowd of 250 no-till and cover crop enthusiasts to explore these important soil health topics. Rick Clark of Williamsport, Indiana provided, to quote one attendee, “probably the most inspiring and forward thinking keynote address I’ve ever heard,” as he related his journey from early days of basic no-till practices, to cover cropping, planting green and now exploring non-GMO crops and transition of some of his 7000 acres to certified organic.

Shown in the picture to the right was another highlight, the “checkerboard” multi-species cover crop plot, interseeded plot (to the back) and planting green demo. The cover crop plot enabled attendees to view 64 different 4-species mixes of growing cover crops. Alongside this plot a mixed species cover was used to demonstrate planting green by the Hershey farm team. Rounding out the field exhibits was an inter-seeded plot showcasing a variety of row widths and cover crops.

Other aspects of the program explored no-till after spring forage harvesting for dairy operations, the challenges presented when attempting organic no-till practices with commodity crops and the benefits of no-till and cover crops outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Kristen Wolf from DEP also spoke to the importance of no-till and cover crops to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan (WIP) and thanked attendees for their important role. PA Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding echoed these comments and also spoke to the recently enacted “PA Farm Bill.”

As well as a high percentage of young and experienced farmers, both Plain Sect and “English,” attendees included numerous Alliance industry sponsors and supporters and representatives of NRCS, EPA, the State Conservation Commission and at least 6 county Conservation Districts. Lancaster Farming, the No-Till Farmer and the American Agriculturalist were all on-site to cover the event.

Perhaps the day was best summed up by an Alliance member as he was leaving, saying, "I always tell people that I never miss this field day. Not everything they hear will apply to their operation, but there’s always something I learn that I can apply on my farm.”

This was followed by a smaller event at Kellogg Farms, Slippery Rock, PA on July 30. The Alliance, spearheaded by board members Ryan Graham and Bill Cannon, partnered with the Butler County NRCS on a program that included board member Jim Harbach as the key presenter. He gave a detailed explanation of how no-till and cover crop s work to maximize water infiltration and nutrient cycling on his large Schrack Dairy Farms in Sugar Valley at Loganton, PA.  He was assisted by his crop consultant, Gerard Troisi, also an Alliance member. Judging by the questions and discussion generated, his remarks were thought provoking to many there.

Alliance President Jim Hershey was in attendance and spoke to group about Alliance efforts and programs and stressed that it is in position to assist both with events like the one they were attending and with individual farmer consultations.

Derek Kellogg of the host farm also spoke to his experience with no-till and cover crops on his families 2000 acre crop and beef farm, emphasizing both the economic and soil health benefits. Andy Gaver rounded out the presentations with a demonstration on soil water holding capacity when utilizing various tillage practices.

The Alliance staff present heard very positive feedback and was thanked for carrying the cover crop, no-till and soil health message into a new part of the state.
Photos and Comments from the Field Days:
Rick Clark gave “probably the most inspiring and forward thinking keynote address I’ve ever heard.”
“I was impressed by how attentive the audience
was to each and every session.”
"The crowd included a high percentage of young and experienced farmers, both plain sect and 'English,'
as well as numerous women."
"Easily the best field day of this sort I’ve ever attended.”
Host Jim Hershey explains planting green.
Jim Harbach addresses the group at Kellogg Farms in Slippery Rock, Butler County, PA.
"The best part was the field demos and
sample plots….I learn best with my eyes.”
“It was great to see so many interested
younger farmers and women.”
Join Us at Ag Progress Days
We welcome members and friends to the upcoming Ag Progress Days event from August 13-15 to learn about future of agriculture in the Commonwealth by observing the latest in Penn State research and information on best management practices and changing regulations in the agricultural industry. The PA No-Till Alliance will present the following educational opportunities (listed below) during the event at Rock Springs, PA.
Ag Progress Days features the latest technology and research exhibits, educational programs and guided tours. It is one of only three agricultural exhibitions in the country sponsored by a major University. The event is held at Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Ag Research Center in Rock Springs, about nine miles from State College. For more information about Ag Progress Days, visit
Upcoming Events
August 13-15
Ag Progress Days, Rock Springs, PA

August 23
Clearfield Conservation District Cover Crop Workshop
featuring Jim Harbach

August 27
Farming for the Future Field Day
Jeff Pontius Farm, Sunbury, PA

August 28
Growing Hemp Field Day
Steve Groff Farm, Holtwood, PA

September 10
Soil Health Twilight Meeting
Buppland Farms, Seven Valleys, PA

December 9
Cocalico/Elanco Agricultural Forum
East Earl, PA
Ag Articles of Interest
SARE Releases New Cover Crop Technical Bulletin
In June, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education ( ) organization released a new Technical Bulletin entitled, “ Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops.”

This peer reviewed research includes articles on topics ranging from “ How to Get a Faster Return from Cover Crops” to “ The Bottom Line on Cover Crops” and is available at or by calling 301-779-1007.
DEP Offers Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced the availability of $1 million in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention and natural resource protection projects through the Small Business Advantage grant program. New to the program this year is the opportunity for small business owners to install solar hot water systems for their business operations. 
Eligible projects include adopting or acquiring equipment or processes that reduce energy use or pollution. Examples of eligible projects are HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency LED lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks. 
Last year , around 200 small businesses were awarded more than $947,000 in grants for their projects. Natural resource protection projects may include planting riparian buffers, installation of streambank fencing to keep livestock out of streams, and investing in agricultural stormwater management projects, with the goal of reducing sediment and nutrient loads in our waterways.
Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, are eligible. 
The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions and instructional videos for completing the online application, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office website . To contact the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office, call 717-772-5160 or email .
Thank You Alliance Sponsors
In 2019, the Alliance is fortunate to be receiving financial support from a near record number of Annual General Sponsors. These generous contributions are invaluable in assisting the Alliance fulfill its mission to spread the word, farmer to farmer, on the value of no-till, cover crops and how they can improve soil health, water quality and overall farm productivity.

Thank you to our Annual General 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

Bottom Line Ag Supply
Timac Agro

Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
2215 Forest Hills Drive, Suite 39, Harrisburg, PA 17112