Impact Report 2012-2013

Penn State reached 857 new farmers through workshops and 73,000 through online content in the 2012-2013 programming year.
Vegetable Production participants try transplanting techniques

Vegetable Production participants try transplanting techniques

Programming Year

Audience: Explorers

  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream – Lehigh, Bucks, Allegheny, York, Adams—132 participants

Audience Start-Up 0-2 years


  • Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production – Lehigh County, April-Sept—29 participants
  • Perennial Production for Beginning Growers – Lehigh County, Feb 22—30 participants
  • Specialty Crop Tours—Adams County, April 2, Nov 12—65 participants
  • ABCs of Bees – Bucks, Jan 22nd—30 participants
  • Tractor Safety - Bucks County, April 4—30 participants
  • Tractor Safety—Adams County - 24 participants


  • Introduction to Soils – Lebanon County, March 12-13—12 participants


  • Beef, Sheep and Goat Home Study – Remote, Feb 6-March 13—244 participants
  • Small Scale Poultry Production - Berks County, Feb. 27—25 participants
  • Small Scale Poultry—Monroe County—27 participants

Marketing & Business

  • Are you ready for Market- 30 participants
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Obtaining Capital - Special MAFVC Workshop for young, new or minority farmers (Jan 28) - 42 participants
  • Vegetable Business Planner—Sept-Oct, 9 participants

Next Generation of Farmers from Diverse Backgrounds (Sessions in Spanish and English)

  • Pruning for Fruit Quality – Adams - Dec 18—15 participants
  • MAFVC Session in Spanish— Jan 30—25 participants
  • Tractor and Sprayer Safety— Feb 18 — 24 participants
  • Vegetable Production Round Table— Feb 18 — 32 participants

Audience 2-6 year

  • Farm Transition Planning – YGA Adams County, Jan 15 - 32 participants


DetweilersDetweiler Homestead Farm, Sellersville PA

Dwight Alderfer and Julie Gotwals started Detweiler Homestead Farm in Sellersville, PA. They grow an array of quality vegetables, herbs and cut flowers which they sell at their busy new farm stand and to two local restaurants. Frequent participants in Penn State Extension classes including Start Farming’s Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production, Dwight says, “I could not have launched this farm without the support of Extension and the classes you provide.”

Wild Fox, Barto PA

Ben, Karah and Sarah Davies run Wild Fox Farm on 41 acres in Barto, PA. Started in 2010, Wild Fox provides summer and winter vegetable shares to 80+ CSA members, sells at the Emmaus Farmers Market and to local restaurants. A participant of the Introduction to Soils Class Ben works closely with Extension advisors. “I am excited to implement the crop rotation I developed working with Extension and through the classes. Having a three year rotation with two years of cover crops and fallow should build the soil and control weeds, bringing our production to an even higher level.”

Wild Fox Farm

Program Highlights

Perennial Production for Beginning Growers

Growing ornamental perennials can be a lucrative new venture for beginning growers. A one-day class was offered to discuss start-up considerations and production basics.

Participants increased their knowledge in 15 production areas with 63% rating themselves as expert after the class versus only 40% before.

Perennial Production workshop

“Not being able to afford college courses, your class was a great way to gain some much needed practical knowledge.”

Sheep and Goat Parasite Management

Parasite management is critical for herd health. After the course 92% of participants had improved their farms with record keeping, de-worming and rotational grazing techniques.


“We saved $300 on worming products for our herd,” said one participant of the 2013 Sheep and Goat parasite management course.

Comments from Participants

“Great classes. Great instructors. I would take other classes offered through Penn State Extension in the future and would recommend to others.” – Living on a Few Acres participant 2012.

“Loved the course,” said a Grazing School participant. After the course participants plan to, “renovate my pasture ... soil test … lengthen rotation...vary grass species ... use forage for more of animal’s nutrition ... and set up a pasture rotation.”

“I just wanted to say thank you again for leading the Introduction to Organic Vegetable Farming class this season. I had a great experience and learned a ton.” –2013 participant.

“Great course! This has increased my confidence in sheep handling immensely. Well planned, clear, and concise. Teachers were great.” Sheep Shearing School 2012.

Next Generation of Farmers from Diverse Backgrounds

Young and Hispanic producers are a growing and underserved sector of specialty crop producers. Penn State's Next Generation Program provided 96 young and Hispanic growers with targeted workshops presented in English and Spanish. Participants improved their production skills. For example:

  • 78% increased their ability to manage fruit, id disease and insect pests (N=14; Mid Atlantic Spanish Session.
  • 61% greatly increased their knowledge of how to reduce pesticide exposure to themselves and 47% to the environment (n=18; Tractor and Sprayer Safety).

Diverse Farmers

Exploring the Small Farm Dream

Many new farm businesses start with enthusiasm that can benefit from planning. This class explores the question, “Is starting an agricultural business right for me?” Past participants learned through discussion, farmer interviews, self-evaluation and participatory learning during courses in Allegheny, Dauphin, Lehigh, Philadelphia and Wayne Counties.

  • 93% of students felt they learned a good or a great deal from the course (n=65).
  • 91% feel they are better able to answer the question, “Am I ready to start an agricultural business?” (2010, 2012, n=32).

The Team

Vegetables and Berries

  • Lee Stivers
  • Tianna DuPont
  • Scott Guiser

Field, Forage and Soils

  • Mena Hautau
  • Andrew Frankenfield
  • Dwane Miller

Tree Fruit

  • Tara Baugher
  • Catherine Lara


  • Dennis Murphy
  • Sam Steel


  • John Berry
  • Brian Moyer
  • Heather Mikulas
  • Carla Snyder
  • Steven Hughes


  • Winifred McGee
  • Miguel Saviroff

Women Farmers

  • Patty Neiner

Beef, Sheep, Goats and Dairy

  • Melanie Barkley
  • Robert Brown
  • Mat Hahn
  • Dustin Heeter
  • Greg Strait

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Article Details


Impact Report 2012-2013


Start Farming

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