Environmental Stewardship Efforts in Adams County
Adams County is a uniquely beautiful and serene place where fruit trees cover the hillsides and animals graze the land. As one of the top agriculture producing counties in the state of Pennsylvania, Adams County farmers and support agencies use a variety of management and handling practices in an effort to maintain, preserve and promote land use that is sustainable and respectful to natural resources in and around the county.
Along with continually educating themselves and the public, farmers implement a variety of practices to improve land, water and air quality. With a direct link to profit from the well-being of the land, farmers give high priority to investments for preservation and protection.
The Adams County Agricultural and Natural Resources Center in Gettysburg is home to a multitude of agencies that work collectively alongside farmers in their efforts to safeguard Adams County resources for future generations.
Read ahead to learn further about the practices used by agricultural leaders in cultivating land to enhance Adams County’s economic and environmental well-being and protect its natural resources.
Most Popular Practices
Farmers, private landowners and support agencies undertake financial, technical and educational efforts to preserve and protect Adams County farms and natural resources so they can be enjoyed by future generations.
Following are some of the most widely used techniques by Adams County landowners.
Terraces and Diversions
Two similar practices that intercept runoff by creating cross-slope channels, reducing the rate of runoff and protecting structures below. Terraces are often built for crop production, while diversions are vegetated with grass.
A practice where crops are planted directly into the soil without tilling. This limits disturbance and greatly reduces the potential for erosion.
Natural or constructed swales, or grassed channels that guide, slow down and collect water as it runs off fields, preventing erosion and improving water quality.
Barn Yard Runoff Control and Manure Storage Structures
These practices collect, treat and contain manure and runoff from barnyards, feedlots or other animal concentration areas. Runoff controls include manure storages where practical, but can also include the use of dedicated grass filters to treat the runoff. Manure storage structures are sized to handle several months worth of manure production. The manure is most often re-used in crop fields as fertilizer where the application rate is matched to the crop nutritional needs. These practices improve animal health and prevent surface and ground water contamination.
Annual or perennial crops that have a variety of benefits for the soil. Used by all types of farmers, cover crops can reduce erosion, add nutrients to the soil or remove excess nutrients and also reduce weeds which in turn reduces herbicide usage.
Consist of permanent vegetation such as trees, shrubs or grass adjacent to sensitive areas like streams and wetlands, helping to protect them from possible polluted runoff. Forested buffers along streams provide additional benefits to water quality including lowering temperatures through shading, providing feedstock (e.g., leaves, seeds, etc.) to the water ecosystem and protecting stream banks from erosion via the network of roots along the banks.
Many Adams County farmers use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in their fields to reduce spraying and increase biological and cultural control of pests. This method utilizes the understanding of pest life cycles to control pests in the most economical and least hazardous ways. For example, dispersing pheromone lures confuses males and prohibits mating that would result in worm damage to fruit.
Farmers as well as support agencies host a variety of educational events to include farm neighbors, private landowners and legislators in the efforts of protecting and preserving natural resources.
Farmland Preservation, Trickle Irrigation, Stream Bank Fencing for Buffer Establishment, Fencing for Improved Grazing Management, Energy Conservation and use of Clean Energy, Chemical Handling Facilities, and much more!