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2013

Guidelines for Winter Manure Application
December 23, 2013
When winter manure application must be done, livestock producers need to be aware of and follow the winter manure spreading criteria identified in the Department of Environmental Protection’s Manure Management Manual.
Pennsylvania 4-H Announces Fee Increase
December 10, 2013
University Park, Pa. — Pennsylvania 4-H will increase its annual fee for the program to $20 from $10, beginning Oct. 1, 2013. The increase — the first in 10 years — will offset rising costs of 4-H curricula development, project offerings and project books, leader guides, officer books and other program support
Holiday Tree Care
December 9, 2013
Once you’ve purchased your fresh tree for the holiday season, you need to maintain its freshness. Here are some tips to keep your cut holiday tree fresh and safe throughout this festive season
Holiday Tree Selection
December 3, 2013
It’s time to choose the perfect fresh Christmas tree for the holidays. Penn State experts recommend checking the tree carefully before purchasing and taking good care of it after you get it home. The most popular species today are Fraser fir and Douglas fir, and with good reason. Both offer dark green color, needles soft to the touch, that classic “Christmas tree” fragrance, attractive shape, sturdy branches, and excellent needle retention. A tree that holds its needles well means less of a mess in the living room. There are also other varieties of Christmas trees offering different characteristics available at both “choose and cut” tree farms and ready-cut lots.
Decorating with Fresh Greens
December 3, 2013
One of our nicest winter holiday traditions is decorating with fresh greenery. Evergreens such as cedar, ivy, pine and holly add a natural look and fresh fragrance to our homes; for many, they represent life everlasting and the coming renewal of spring. Your own landscape is a great place to look for holiday greenery. You may have a variety of materials unavailable at a store, and what you gather will be much fresher. Just remember that you are actually pruning the plants as you gather greenery, so consider carefully which branches you can trim to preserve the natural form of the tree or shrub.
Winter Guidelines for Manure Management
December 2, 2013
Most livestock producers would prefer to spread manure on their fields in spring and summer when the crops are going to get the most use out of it. However, there are circumstances when manure has to be applied in the winter, such as wet fall weather that kept field conditions unsuitable for manure application and the lack of a large enough storage structure to hold the manure until spring.
Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Cinnamon?
November 21, 2013
As we head into the festive seasons and anticipate feasting on foods flavored with exotic spices, cinnamon comes to mind as a favorite.
Penn State Extension 2013 Year in Review
November 18, 2013
Penn State Extension celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Master Gardener program in Cumberland County Thursday night at their annual meeting.
Face of a Republican: Agriculture is the No. 1 business in Pennsylvania
November 18, 2013
According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, there are 2.2 million farms in the United States. Of those, 63,000 are in Pennsylvania and 1,550 are in Cumberland County.
Dining with Diabetes Clip Aired on WGAL 8
November 18, 2013
Dining with Diabetes is a program offered by Penn State Extension. It will help you to understand the important numbers for diabetes management, planning healthy meals, healthy food preparation and physical activity. This class meets for 5 weeks with a 6th class 3 months later. If you have been told you have Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, this class is for you!
16 Enter into National 4-H Hall of Fame
November 12, 2013
Ag honors Duane Duncans' 55 years of service culminate in hall of fame induction.
Utilizing Penn State Extension
November 6, 2013
Make the most of your county’s Penn State Extension Office, from help with soil tests to participating in on-farm research.
New rules going into effect for farm market
November 5, 2013
Old is New...Act 106 changed the rules for vendors across the commonwealth
Lobbyist: State issues all have link to farmers
October 18, 2013
State issues such as transportation funding, the pension shortfall and property tax reform are all linked to farmers in some way, according to a lobbyist for the industry. Joel Rotz, senior state director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, told fellow farmers at a recent breakfast hosted by state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, that funding transportation and pensions takes state money away from agriculture.
Pa. Death Underscores Need for Farm Safety
September 27, 2013
Tragic Accident: 17-year-old boy died Wednesday harvesting corn in Lebanon County.
Tips to Reduce Tragic Grain Silo Accidents
September 23, 2013
Nationwide, an average 16 people die each year in grain bin tragedies.
Pa. Rules Mark Change in Approach to CWD
September 23, 2013
Agency to drop rule that hunters in two DMAs register their harvests.
Dry Conditions Persist as Pa. Harvest Goes On
September 20, 2013
Corn and soybeans are starting to shows signs of stress with little rain.
Washing Pesticide Contaminated Clothing
September 12, 2013
Professionals know how important it is to be careful when using pesticides. We all strive to use the least toxic, effective option, read the label and follow the directions, calibrate, measure carefully and wear the required personal protective equipment.
Bagworms
September 12, 2013
Bagworms (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) seem to be making pests of themselves across the Commonwealth. Extension educators across the state have been seeing considerable damage from this native insect.
Safe Food Handling: to rinse or not...
September 10, 2013
Washing fruits and vegetables is a must as they are grown near the ground where animals, insects and even birds may contaminate the produce. Do food safety experts recommend washing any raw meat before cooking? No, do not wash raw meat before cooking.
Tall Yellow Bee Magnets
August 30, 2013
Have you noticed how many tall perennials bloom with yellow, daisy-like flowers from mid-summer through fall in fields and gardens in this area? There are a lot of them. They are all U.S. natives, all members of the Aster or daisy family (Asteraceae), and all attract hordes of pollinating bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, as well as birds when seeds ripen.
Franklin County raw milk producer cleared to resume sales
August 28, 2013
A Franklin County raw milk producer has been cleared to resume sales. The state had ordered The Family Cow to halt sales on Aug. 5 after two people who had consumed raw milk from the farm near Chambersburg were sickened by Campylobacter, a gastrointestinal illness that usually clears up without medical care.
Staying Safe on the Farm: Local 4-H Team Competes at AG Progress Days Quiz Bowl
August 19, 2013
Rock Springs, PA. Teens and safety rarely go hand in hand, but the next generation of agricultural producers is proving that safety is an important part of rural work and life. Five teams of 4-H youth from throughout the commonwealth displayed a wealth of knowledge during the Pennsylvania State University Farm Safety and Health Quiz Bowl, held at the 2013 Ag Progress Days on Wednesday, August 14.
Cutting Flowers from the Garden
August 19, 2013
Most everyone enjoys fresh flower arrangements in the home, where their colorful beauty adds a delightful touch to any room. Purchased bouquets can add up to quite an expense, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy flowers. If you have a garden, you can easily grow your own cutting flowers, but you can also find a plethora of plant material suitable for arrangements in perennial beds and shrub borders around your yard.
Plan to Attend Our Conservation Landscaping Field Day & Tour
July 30, 2013
This program is for landscape architects, landscape designers, contractors, land planners, municipal officials, and other professionals in the landscape design and installation field.
Millipedes Making an Appearance
July 25, 2013
Millipedes, often called “thousand-leggers,” have been showing up in homes around Cumberland County recently, most likely due to very dry or very wet soil conditions. These wormlike arthropods are common throughout Pennsylvania, and most of the time, they live unnoticed; but occasionally, they may crawl into homes in great numbers, causing alarm and annoyance. Fortunately, they cause no damage, other than being a nuisance, and they don’t live long indoors.
Newville farm recognized for efforts to protect Chesapeake Bay Watershed
July 19, 2013
HARRISBURG — Three farms received the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Farm Award for their efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay. The awards ceremony was held during the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts’, Inc. (PACD) annual conference on July 15. Recognition is given annually to those farmers who are environmentally conscious in the management of their farm operations and who also exhibit an understanding of the roles we all play in protecting the commonwealth’s waterways.
Kudzu bug threatens Pennsylvania soybeans
July 18, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. — As Pennsylvania soybean producers scout their fields this summer, one new pest they should be on the lookout for is the kudzu bug, an exotic stink bug-like pest that is headed toward the state, says Dr. John Tooker at Penn State. “It is much smaller and has an odder shape than your typical stink bug,” says Tooker. Tooker requests that if growers find evidence of the kudzu bugs in their fields, they report their findings to their local Penn State Extension office. This invasive stink bug-like pest, also known as the bean plataspid, was first discovered on kudzu in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia, during the fall of 2009.
Common Tomato Problems
July 16, 2013
As certain as the heat and humidity of summer are the questions about tomato problems. So far, I have not seen tomato late blight, although it has been reported in a few areas of the mid-Atlantic region, but blossom end rot and tomato leaf roll have made their annual appearance in home gardens.
Be on the Lookout for These Garden Pests
June 24, 2013
Recently I’ve been seeing samples or getting phone calls about some garden pests that are showing up not just in Cumberland County but across the state. The humid and rainy weather, combined with the moderate temperatures of the past few weeks, seems to exacerbate the appearance of garden pests – disease, insect, or weed. Caveat hortus – gardener, beware!
Black Walnut Trees
June 18, 2013
Black walnut trees have been a part of our natural landscapes forever. This native tree grows along streams in moist, rich soils, and sunny locations. They do not tolerate dry sites, often dropping leaves at the first sign of drought. They have a nice canopy, potentially reaching 100’ in height. They provide light shade and yellow fall color. These trees are very valuable, not only for the lumber it provides – often coveted by woodworkers – but also for the necessary food source it provides for our wildlife. There are problems that threaten our native black walnut. A disease - thousand canker disease – has been introduced to Pennsylvania in Bucks County (southeast PA, near Philadelphia). As a result, a quarantine was directed that no firewood, lumber, nursery stock, or scions can be transported outside county lines. This has been a disease thought to be limited to the western part of the country, but is now here as well. “The disease poses a significant threat to the state's $25 billion hardwoods industry. Black walnut trees, which make up less than half of one percent of hardwood trees in Pennsylvania, produce high-valued lumber used in woodworking and furniture-making. The nuts of the trees are consumed by humans and wildlife.” http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/ Symptoms of this disease include yellowing leaves, reduced leaf cover, and flagging of branches and eventually death.
Brand May Unstick 'Stranded' Milk Premium
June 18, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. — At one Pennsylvania grocery store chain, customers will know their neighbors supplied the store brand of milk.
Try a Summer Cover Crop this Year
June 10, 2013
Summer covers can add organic matter and nitrogen to soil, provide food for beneficial soil organisms, and help reduce weeds in subsequent cash crops. Keep the soil covered!
Family Cow to resume production, sale of raw milk
June 10, 2013
Food Safety at Farm and Farmers Markets
June 7, 2013
As a Pennsylvania grower of fresh vegetables and fruits, you have worked hard to learn about and adopt GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) on your farm and in your packing house. Now that we are moving into peak marketing season, remember those farm food safety concepts when selling your produce at farm and farmers markets. Food safety practices that extend from farm to fork can help prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.
Penn State Extension Dairy Team Schedules “Tools for Teams” Webinars
June 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – Penn State’s Extension Dairy Team has scheduled five “Tools for Teams” webinars designed for members of dairy advisory teams to provide in-depth information on using whole farm and management tools to achieve maximum profitability.
PSU Dairy Herd IOFC - April 2013
June 5, 2013
I am waiting for spring to arrive in Happy Valley. April has been a very cool month and from the cow’s perspective probably very refreshing. We finally transitioned from the bag corn silage to the bunk. Both the bunk and total mixed ration (TMR) were sent out for analyses. We had an in-service training scheduled for our Extension Dairy Team and Travis Edwards (assistant manager) and I were conducting a workshop on how to visually appraise forages and interpret analyses reports. So the timing was perfect to send samples out to check the corn silage and TMR, both for the herd and for the educational opportunity.
Storage Tips to Ensure Safe Raw Milk
June 3, 2013
Pennsylvania is one of several states allowing the sale of raw milk for human consumption. Raw milk is simply milk that has not yet been pasteurized.
Insects Of Interest: Periodical Cicadas
May 31, 2013
There has been a great deal of media attention this year on the mass emergence of Brood II of the 17-year cicadas, an insect phenomenon of eastern North America.
Strawberries: Here's where to pick-your-own in the Harrisburg region
May 31, 2013
Be patient, strawberry lovers. Local berries - always one of the first signs of summer - are just showing up at some farmers' market stands. They are a little late this year. But the wait promises to be worth it.
A New Blight on Boxwood
May 31, 2013
Boxwood (Buxus species and cultivars) has a long history of use in American gardens, dating back to Colonial times. Think of Williamsburg, and boxwood comes to mind. For hedging and topiary, it is a plant without parallel.
Pa. Ag Department: Raw milk from Chambersburg farm sickens five people
May 30, 2013
CHAMBERSBURG -- The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed five cases of confirmed Campylobacter infection in people who consumed milk from The Family Cow, 3854 Olde Scotland Road, Chambersburg. The state departments of Agriculture and Health on Wednesday advised consumers to discard raw milk produced by the farm because of potential bacterial contamination.
Impact of Japanese Knotweed on Our Forests
May 28, 2013
Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that is causing increased concern in Pennsylvania.
Boxwood Blight found in Cumberland County
May 24, 2013
Boxwood blight was recently detected in a landscape in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Boxwood blight was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2011 in Lancaster County.
Uninvited Guests: Spring Insect Pests
May 13, 2013
The days are getting longer, temperatures warmer and everything is starting to bloom. Insects and many other creatures are also appearing more frequently as the temperature rises. Often these creatures don’t bother us, but sometimes they can become pests. Use IPM to keep pest problems from getting out of control. Below are some general tips for preventing pests and a few helpful hints to manage some common pests this time of year.
Get Cookin'
May 9, 2013
Tired of eating or making the same old thing for dinner? Try something different!
The Key to Lawn Mower Safety is You !
May 7, 2013
Even though we are well into the lawn mowing season it is worthwhile to review the hazards associated lawn mowers and their safe operation. Each year thousands of injuries are caused by power lawn mowers. Many of these accidents involve children under the age of five years old, and usually result in grotesque injury and/or the loss of fingers, toes, limbs, or eyes.
Starting Early on IPM for the Season
April 30, 2013
Late winter and the promise of spring brings with it the beginning of new growth. That includes bugs and rodents on the farm. Depending on how well you ventilated during the winter, conditions could be right for a bug bloom of epic proportions that may not be seen until you pull manure or litter out of your housing. The method of integrated pest management or IPM can help reduce the impact of the first few weeks of spring and certainly prior to manure movement from the farm.
Cut Hay Early to Improve Quality
April 30, 2013
This certainly isn’t news to many of you but all too often I see farmers starting to cut grass hay around Memorial Day.
PA-WAgN Launches Specialty Mentor Program
April 18, 2013
The Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network (PA-WAgN) is launching a women farmer mentoring program to connect established farmers with new and beginning farmers, aspiring farmers, and seasoned farmers. The mentor program will encourage women farmers to support each other through shared learning and exchange of experiences in workshops and online forums focused on five topic areas: fruit and vegetable cultivation, dairy and cheese production, urban agriculture and nutrition, on-farm education and value-added products, and livestock production.
Are You Ready for the FDA to Visit Your Farm?
April 17, 2013
Most farmers would probably say no to that question, let alone become excited or optimistic about such a prospect. In fact, the thought of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paying a visit leaves a lot of farmers with a dreadful sensation in their gut.
Spring: A Key Time for Plant Diseases and Disease Control
April 15, 2013
Spring is a key time for disease control. This is especially true for many leaf, needle, and flower diseases, regardless of the type of plant involved.
Pennsylvania’s 2013 Machinery Custom Rates
April 2, 2013
This year’s machinery custom rates are now available online. Of the 82 rates reported with year-to-year comparisons, 65 increased, 12 decreased, and 5 are virtually unchanged from last year. Overall, custom rates were up 4.45 percent compared to the previous year. Because of the potential variation in size and overall productivity of equipment, a range of reported rates for each job has been included. The range represents the middle 80 percent of all reported rates for each job, thus the lowest 10 percent and the highest 10 percent of all reported values were not published.
Maintain the Best Soil for Your Crops by Avoiding Compaction
April 2, 2013
It is that time of year again when homeowners and farmers are getting ready to plant their gardens or numerous acres of crop land. Even though planting is still a couple of weeks away, it is important to keep in mind that what you do to the soil now could affect your entire growing season. This is why it is important to maintain your soil’s fertility, which is its health or quality.
The Easter Lily
March 28, 2013
The pure white flared trumpets of Easter lily flowers are a time‐honored symbol of the hope, purity and innocence embodied in the Easter tradition. Lilies grow each year from scaly bulbs deep in the earth, a resurrection if you will, to form majestic plants with sturdy dense green foliage and radiant white flowers touched with sweet fragrance.
Cover Crop Field Walks Planned Across PA.
March 26, 2013
Make plans now to come out to one of Penn State Extension’s ten cover crop field walks. Penn State’s Crop Management Team has established cover crop trials on dairy farms across Pennsylvania since 2009. At these walks, we will review results from the first two years, and you will have the opportunity to observe the performance of various cover crop mixtures, and interact with peers and specialists. Mixtures of several different cover crops will be highlighted.
Speak up!
March 19, 2013
Whoever said ‘silence is golden’ was not working on a committee or serving on a board. Silence isn’t golden when a community group is at work. In fact it can be toxic.
Farmer Partners with Butcher to Cut Costs
March 12, 2013
New partnership enables farmer to cut processing costs in half.
Solomon’s Seal – 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year
March 7, 2013
One of the pleasures of early spring, for a gardener weary of winter, is watching herbaceous perennials emerge from the bare ground, with lengthening stems and unfurling leaves often changing color as they develop into the full-grown plants that will add color, form, and texture to the garden during the growing season.
Eat Right
March 7, 2013
Food, Nutrition and Health Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Looking Ahead to Spring Pasture Management
March 6, 2013
Here are some practical tips when looking to manage pastures this spring.
Moss is Greening up in Pennsylvania Lawns
March 5, 2013
Moss is one of the first plants to green-up in Pennsylvania lawns during early spring, and many homeowners consider it an annoying weed. This year, moss has made an early arrival, and homeowners are looking for answers on how to keep it from taking over their lawns.
Farmers Making Their Plans for Spring
February 26, 2013
Before farmers start their spring planting in March, they complete their winter planning in February. There is plenty to do on a farm — even when the ground is covered in snow. Pennsylvania was home to 62,100 farms in 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Pond & Lake Management Workshop - Lancaster
February 25, 2013
This meeting will help you prepare for the upcoming pond season. It will help you manage a pond used for recreation, irrigation or a livestock water supply. Get an overview of what happens in your pond, then look beneath the surface of the pond to gain an understanding of your pond’s life cycle. And finally, consider a few basics of the pond structure itself, such as determining the size and condition of the pond. We want you to be able to develop an effective management strategy for your pond. We will explain how to identify weed, discuss weed management options, as well as a provide information about fish and wildlife management.
A Conflict a Day
February 25, 2013
It won’t keep the doctor away, but you’re almost guaranteed to get a daily dose of conflict if you’re involved in a community organization. How you handle that conflict can make a difference in your organization’s health. And an apple a day probably wouldn’t hurt, either.
Heralds of Spring: Early Flowering Bulbs
February 21, 2013
To remind us that spring will return, snowdrops poke their heads out of the ground, sometimes as early as Groundhog Day; but they are prettier than groundhogs, smell nicer, and stick around longer, even under a blanket of snow.
Research Continues on Cover Crop Interseeder
February 21, 2013
EPHRATA, Pa. -- In many parts of Pennsylvania, getting a cover crop seeded after corn or soybeans can be difficult, especially if it gets cold too soon. And while a cover crop interseeder may provide a way to get seed in when a crop is standing, it's not a perfect solution. Greg Roth, professor of agronomy at Penn State, talked about cover crop interseeders Monday during a webinar on cover crop management.
Winter Educational Meetings for Fruit Growers
February 13, 2013
Penn State Extension has nine educational meetings planned this winter for tree fruit growers throughout Pennsylvania. The meetings are designed to address current challenges with the latest research based information.
A New Challenge for Growing Flowers in the Shade
February 13, 2013
Last season, we at Penn State Extension started getting calls about Impatiens losing their leaves and collapsing long before frost. The best calls were requests for bunny rabbit control as gardeners thought that rabbits had eaten all of their Impatiens’ leaves. It turns out that we have a new disease, Impatiens Downy mildew, that specifically hits what most of us know as the “Common Garden Impatien.”
Challenges and Opportunities for Obtaining Capital
January 24, 2013
A workshop for young, new and minority farmers to gain insight into ag loans and business management. Guest speaker is Clark Seavert, Oregon State University Agricultural Economics Professor.
Don't Trash the Farm Show Butter Sculpture!
January 22, 2013
What do you do with a 1,000 pounds of excess butter? The dairy masterpiece will be smushed into manure & other organic waste.
2013-2014 Agronomy Guide Now Available
January 22, 2013
The Penn State Agronomy Guide is designed for easy reading and quick reference.
Pennsylvania Farm Safety & Health Quiz Bowl State Finals Results
January 14, 2013
Teens and safety rarely go hand in hand, but a group of Pennsylvania’s youth is proving that safety is an important part of rural work and life. Eight teams of FFA and 4-H students from throughout the commonwealth displayed a wealth of knowledge during the Pennsylvania State University Farm Safety and Health Quiz Bowl, held at the 2013 PA Farm Show on Wednesday, January 9.
Mifflinburg FFA and Cumberland County 4-H Top Farm Safety Quiz Bowl
January 10, 2013
Harrisburg – Mifflinburg FFA and Cumberland County Team A won their respective brackets at the Farm Safety Quiz Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at the 2013 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
Southampton teen's Angus named champion at farm show
January 9, 2013
This is her 4th Farm Show steer!
Winter Manure Application Considerations
January 9, 2013
Winter manure application is probably the most sensitive nutrient management issue that farmers face.
2013 Crops and Pesticides: One-Day Seminars
January 8, 2013
You can earn pesticide, nutrient management, and certified crop adviser credits and gain knowledge of key current crop management issues.
97th Annual Farm Show Begins Saturday
January 2, 2013
Theme for the 2013 show is 'Made in Pa.; It makes a difference'