2016 Annual Report

4-H Youth Development

240 youth participated in at least one club in the Cumberland County 4-H program.

Three 4-H members traveled to Tennessee as a part of the 4-H Interstate Exchange Project.

4-H members continued developing leadership, citizenship and life skills at various activities such as Speak Out Night, Regional 4-H Camp, State Days and Officer Training.

Seventy one 4-H volunteers assisted with the 4-H clubs and county 4-H programs.

The 4-H Embryology School Enrichment Program was successfully completed by 1244 students in 47 classrooms throughout various school districts.

Over 50 youth gained hands-on knowledge and experience during workshops at Ag Science Day Camp, Activity Days I & II, Lock-In, and programming at the Carlisle Barracks.

4-H Advisory Council

Alyssa Knisely - President
Bob Carey - Vice President
Rachel Shambaugh-Secretary
Lisa Kramer- Treasurer
Leslie Peters - Youth Liason
Courtney Walter - Youth Liason
Ryan Holstay
Jim Holt
Duane Duncan
Susan Ostrowski
Glenda Farner-Strasbaugh
Dottie Scheneman

Family and Consumer Science


The StrongWomen strength training program was offered in three different locations in the past year with a total of 151 women taking part in the program. Morning and evening classes were held in New Cumberland, Carlisle and Mechanicsburg. A total of 176 classes were held during the year with 2087 contacts during the program year.

Dining with Diabetes

Three “Dining with Diabetes” sessions were offered in Carlisle during the program year. Fifteen participants attended the fall 2015 class, 18 attended the spring 2016 class and seven attended the fall 2016 class. The fall classes were held in Carlisle while the spring 2016 series was held in collaboration with Messiah Village in Mechanicsburg.

Nutrition Education

Nutrition programs were presented at several locations to 390 participants in 19 programs. These locations included Simpson Library, Carlisle Salvation Army Senior Action Center, Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania - Carlisle, Carlisle Sr. Housing – Valley Ridge, Molly Pitcher, 2 West Penn & East Gate, Penrose STARS Center, PA Farm Bureau Convention Health Fair in Hershey, AAUW in Carlisle, Big Spring Senior Center, Aurora Services in Mechanicsburg, Green Village, and 4-H Ag. Sciences Day Camp.

Mediterranean Cuisine Comes to PA

This new course was taught in Carlisle over five classes in May and June. Thirteen participants attended the classes. The purpose of the program is to teach health, food choices and lifestyle to promote lifelong health and fitness.

Penn State Dietetic Interns

Two Penn State University Dietetic Interns worked in Cumberland County during the program year. In the spring, Hannah Cornman, completed her Community Project at Oak Flat Elementary School in Newville where she taught two special needs classes. She also taught a lesson to the members of the Church of God StrongWomen class. This fall, Kate Numer, taught a lesson to the members of the Church of God StrongWomen class and completed her Community Project at the Salvation Army Sr. Action Center.

Food Safety

Food Safety & Food Preservation

Questions were answered about food safety, food storage guidelines and food preservation during the year. Seven pressure canner gauges were tested.


Two classes of Food Safety Certification were held in Carlisle, at the Cumberland County Extension Office. These classes were taught by Andy Hirneisen, Food Safety Educator based in Berks County. These classes had 34 participants. Of these 34; 30 passed the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Exam.

Horticulture and Master Gardener Program

Volunteer Service Hours

91 active certified Penn State Master Gardeners in Cumberland and Perry counties reported a total of 8,874 volunteer service hours, an average of 97 hours per volunteer, and a total of 7,804 direct educational contacts, 2,748 males and 5056 females, during the 2016 program year. They also reported a total of 1,409 hours of Continuing Education. Two individuals, Carol Caplinger and Shirley Stark, received recognition as Emeritus Master Gardeners.

Youth Gardening Programs

Two new youth-focused garden camps premiered this summer, in addition to the popular Youth Summer Garden Camp, now in its seventh year.

  • Five youth, ages 12 to 14, attended the Teen Garden Camp, held on two consecutive Mondays in June, to learn about the science of plants and horticulture through hands-on, research-based activities and experiments. A highlight of the camp was a field trip to Penn State’s Southeast Agricultural Research & Extension Center in Manheim, Lancaster County.
  • 28 preschoolers, ages 4 to 6, accompanied by 23 adults, participated in the first Preschool in the Garden program at the Allen Road Gardens on Friday, August 12, learning about sunflowers and butterflies through stories, a scavenger hunt, and crafting. 
  • The Youth Summer Garden Camp continued for its seventh year, with 32 campers, ages 7 to 12, attending five camp sessions over the summer, learning about gardening and harvesting produce such as beets, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, and shallots. 900 pounds of produce were harvested, with 300 pounds donated to Project Share in Carlisle.

Horticulture Therapy

Master Gardeners providing horticultural therapy activities continue to impact the lives of county residents at long-term care facilities, adult day care centers, senior centers, and group homes. In 2016, Master Gardeners held 20 programs at 10 different institutions in the county, reaching 300 individuals with the therapeutic benefits of plants and gardening. Activities, including herb containers, pressed flowers, flower arranging, and vegetable gardening, offer these individuals opportunities for year-round interaction and participation with the beauty and life of plants.

Home Gardening Questions Answered

A total of 1,030 home gardening questions were answered for county residents. Master Gardeners answered 450 garden questions for home gardeners at plant clinics held during the growing season at venues around the county, including West Shore Farmers Market in Lemoyne; Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill; Adams-Ricci Farmers Market in Enola; Carlisle Country Market; and Shippensburg Public Library. The Horticulture Educator also answered home gardening questions at the Extension office during this period, with a total of 580 questions answered via phone, e-mail, or direct contact, and diagnosed or identified 150 samples, ranging from snow mold on turf to drugstore beetles.

Gardening with Nature

This season-long series of monthly programs for home gardeners, led by Master Gardeners and held at the Fredricksen Library in Camp Hill, reached 260 individuals with presentations on a variety of topics focused on environmentally-friendly gardening practices, ranging from IPM to proper tree planting. This series won a first-place award at the State Master Gardener Conference held in June for its significant impact on educating home gardeners living in communities adjacent to local waterways about storm water best management practices.

Master Gardener Advisory Committee

Mindy Wenger, Chair
Bob MacGregor, Vice-Chair
Natalie Fevola, Secretary
Jane Mitchell, New Class Representative
Linda Sieber, Perry County Representative
Annette MaCoy, ex officio
Ellie Stuart, ex officio
Susan Beinhaur
Lois Kriens
Maggie Pepe
Tim Potts
Valerie Rowader
Lori Smarr

Dairy Business Management

2016 Summary of Dairy Farm Individual Assistance Projects - Tim Beck

Type of visit
Number of work sessions
Number of farms
Participants Hours
Cost of Production
65 48 140 252
Building Project/ Farm Purchase
31 16 79 115
Financial Distress
30 11 68 123
Startup Dairies/ Transfers
5 4 9 18
Totals 131 79 296 508

2016 provided many opportunities to work with producers on a variety of business meetings and projects. Individual farm visits included a mixture of farms considering building projects or farm purchases (16), farms looking at starting a dairy business (four), farms interested in learning about their cost of production (48) and farms experiencing financial distress (11). The very low milk prices that had been experienced throughout 2015 continued through 2016. An increasing number of farms are experiencing financial distress. 2016 average breakeven cost of production on 104 dairy farms was $18.48/CWT.

The Advanced Cash flow project was completed during the winter of 2016. This included collecting actual financial data for 2014-15 from 56 farms. The dairy business management team worked together in workshops or individual visits to accomplish this goal. Corn silage, manure and MUN samples were collected from each farm. Rob Goodling learned a data analysis procedure that analyzed our large dataset to identify characteristics of the farms that consistently placed them in the most profitable group. Questions that weren’t addressed by this initial study are being pursued in more detail in this year’s “Crops to Cow” project. More detailed crop, ration and IOFC data have been collected from each farm. Year-end financial analysis will be completed for the 24 farms in the project.

Program development efforts included conversion of the cash flow spreadsheet into PDF forms with calculations that can be used on farms not using Excel, development of specialized spreadsheets to collect year-round production and financial data for the Dairy Finance Forum and developing data collection PDF forms for the Crops to Cow project. A 12-month IOFC worksheet was also developed to summarize IOFC data for Crops to Cow participants.

The educator taught at 29 meetings throughout the year. Cash flow data and discussion was shared at 17 meetings. 446 participants were involved in the 29 sessions. The educator taught the “FarmSense” curriculum to a group of farms in Gettysburg and participated in webinar sessions for the “Crops to Cow” project.

Water Resources

Five hundred twenty adults and 210 youth participated in workshops, webinars, and other events about groundwater protection, drinking water, water testing, water treatment, septic systems, pond and watershed management, and water quality for agriculture.

One hundred seventy five drinking water supplies tested for PA residents at grant-funded workshops.

Extension provided individual assistance to 160 additional PA residents with water-related questions via phone, email, or walk-in visits.

Collected samples from drinking water supplies for a statewide research project. Coauthored papers, presentations, posters, and grant proposals with other educators.

Participated in the Source Water Protection Plan committees for several drinking water suppliers in the Lower Susquehanna region.

Penn State Extension of Cumberland County Board of Directors

Kay Knepp - President, Mechanicsburg

Noah Hughes - Vice President, Boiling Springs
Terry Lopp - Ex Officio Secretary, Newville
Jerry Ogline - Treasurer, Carlisle
Dave Swartz - County Extension Director, Loysville
Vince Difilippo - Commissioner Liaison, Carlisle
Bob Carey - Mechanicsburg
James Caplinger - Boiling Springs
Wendy Martin - Carlisle
Amanda Rife- Carlisle
Joel Rotz - Mechanicsburg
Adam Smith- Carlisle
Jean Spears - Carlisle
Alyssa Knisely - 4-H Advisory Council President, Carlisle

Penn State Extension Cumberland County Based Staff

Dave Swartz (, County Extension Director

Tim Beck (, Dairy Business Management Educator
Lacey Burkett ( Administrative Assistant*
Amy Galford (, Water Quality Educator
Logan Hall (, 4-H Youth Development Educator
Sue Hurley (, 4 -H Administrative Assistant*
Terry Lopp (, Administrative Coordinator*
Annette MaCoy (, Consumer Horticulture Educator*
Nancy Routch (, Part-time Family & Consumer Sciences Educator
Ellie Stuart ( Extension Assistant
Pamela Tracey (, 4-H Youth Development Educator*
Kathy Walton (, Part-time 4-H Animal Science Support*
Heather Weeks (, Dairy Profitability Educator
Rachelle Womack (, Nutrition Education Advisor
Kelsi Knarr 4-H Summer Assistant *
* County Funded Staff

Extension Staff (based in other counties) who provided educational programs in Cumberland County

Tim Abbey, Extension Educator, York County
Autumn Alleman, Better Kid Care Program Associate, Cumberland Co.
John Berry, Ag Marketing Educator, Lehigh County
John Bray, Pesticide Safety Educator, Lebanon County
Judy Chambers, Community Development - Land Use, Adams County
Tim Elkner, Horticulture Educator, Lancaster County
Jennifer Fetter, Youth and Watershed Education, Dauphin County
Tom Ford, Horticulture Educator, Cambria County
Heather Freeland, 4-H Youth Development Educator, Dauphin County
Bryan Garrido, 4-H Youth Coordinator, Dauphin County
George Hurd, Natural Resources, Franklin County
Becky Kaucher, 4-H & Youth Development Educator, Perry County
Dan McFarland, Agricultural Engineering Educator, York County
Winifred McGee, Senior Extension Educator, Dauphin County
Diane Oleson, Natural Resources, York County
Kelly Patches, Field & Forage Crops Educator, Franklin County
Cynthia Pollock, Coordinator, BKC, Lancaster County
Lenelle Roberts, Nutrition Links Training Coordinator, Dauphin county