Start Farming Blog
USDA’s Farm Service Agency has expanded the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program to provide very low-interest financing to farmers to build or upgrade storage for meat, dairy, and eggs.
Whether you plan on raising chickens, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or horses there are some basics that you should know first before taking the jump into production. Keys to success in raising livestock include knowledge of goals, options, and resources. Knowing these key points will help to shape your farm and make it successful in the long run.
As with integrated pest management for insect pests, IPM for wildlife management involves integrating several control methods simultaneously or alternately, and the key to success is routine monitoring. Effective scouting entails assessing wildlife and predator populations, wildlife habitats and behaviors, damage patterns, possible impacts on nontarget organisms and various conditions that may influence control efficacy.
The demand for local hops is creating a renewed interest in growing hops. A team of Penn State Extension Educators and Specialists recently received funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block program to study hops.
Not only insecticides but also some fungicides and herbicides are harmful to bees. The following are some general guidelines to protect bees from pesticides.
Spotted wing drosophila is present just about anywhere we look these days—even in berry fields where fruit is no longer present.
Dairy farming requires a large capital investment. Land, buildings, equipment, and cows are expensive and few new dairy farmers have the capital required to purchase everything when first getting started. Extension Dairy Educator, Mat Haan weighs in on two potential options for getting a start in the industry.
Composting and compost provide numerous opportunities for farmers to improve their production systems. Potential income either directly from tipping fees or selling surplus compost, or indirectly from increased production supported by compost-improved soil. Here we share the benefits and drawbacks of 4 compost production methods, as well as 6 straightforward tips for using compost.
Penn State is teaming up with establishing farmers to help new farmers become more profitable, productive, and sustainable. With funding from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher project the Penn State Start Farming team is offering study circles, courses and “Models for the Future” demonstration plots.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released a "Checklist for Self-Assessment of Enhanced Poultry Biosecurity" and training materials as part of ongoing preparation efforts for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
If you are new to farming or thinking of starting your farm next year, soil testing is probably the last thing on your mind. But come winter, when you are doing your planning for next year, you will want to have that soil test in hand. You will need the results to calculate what nutrients to apply and how much you need so you can complete your orders and have your crop plan ready.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.
If you are considering using a pesticide, it is important to make sure you are in compliance with Pennsylvania law. If you are not sure what you intend to do is legal, make the effort to find out for sure before you get into trouble with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). The rules apply to all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered pesticides, including registered pesticides allowed for organic production.
Soil in high tunnels isn’t exposed to the elements like soil in the field is, and if the plastic is kept on the tunnels for multiple winters, little leaching takes place. Thus, nutrients and salts can accumulate. How much difference does taking the covers off for one winter make?
Diversified farming means we have to be experts in the production requirements for each of the products we produce. On top of that, we need to be able to have a market for each product. How we plan to sell our products is just as important as deciding how we will grow them.
Another Berks County township is quarantined in the fight to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect new to the United States that was first found in the area last fall.
Pennsylvania agriculture is under pressure to reduce nutrient deposition in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Given current nutrient management regulations and restrictions, there are areas in Eastern Pennsylvania where available manure nutrients exceed those that can be applied as fertilizer to local crops. It seems logical that the region of Pennsylvania outside the Chesapeake Bay watershed should be part of a serious discussion for future livestock expansion.
Become familiar with the term "Bud Box"; it may change the way you work your cattle.
Powdery mildew, a warm-weather high-humidity disease, is present in some blueberry plantings. Lowbush, highbush, and rabbiteye blueberries are all affected.
Two of our least favorite fall pests may be consorting together. Warm rains in the spring and now late summer, combined with heavy dews have resulted in medium to high insect and fruit rot activity this fall in berry crops.