2016 Annual Report

Message from the Director

Leon J. Ressler, District Director

Lancaster County Ag Week
The 2nd annual “Lancaster County Ag Week” was organized by the Lancaster Ag Council and was held October 9-15, 2016. The overarching theme was “Everyone Benefits.” There were numerous events, tours and hands-on opportunities throughout Ag Week to celebrate the hard work of local farmers.

Each day of the week there was a different theme. Thursday’s theme was agriculture benefits the community by providing local foods, local food processing opportunities, and a rich heritage of raw products and value-added products. Extension Educators Stacy Reed and Martha Zepp presented classes that day coordinated with the theme. The topics were “Why Winter Squash and Pumpkins are Great Fall Foods” and “Preparation and Preserving of Squash.”

New Structure For Penn State Extension Begins July 1, 2017
In an effort to better serve our 21st Century customers, Penn State Extension will be transitioning to a new business platform and product development process.

Currently each extension district has one District Director with two primary job expectations. First, to build relationships and understand local stakeholder needs. And second, to ensure we efficiently and effectively manage day–to–day operations. History has shown, and there is broad agreement within the organization, that the current district director position is too broad in scope for one person. Currently, the majority of district directors’ time is spent on office operations, at the expense of local relationships and programming.

The job is being split to optimize skill sets in these two areas. The Business Operations Manager will have expertise in operations and office management and will oversee the day-to-day management of the county offices in their territory. The Customer Relations Manager will have expertise in customer service and relationship building and will serve as the primary point of contact for County Commissioners and stakeholders and serve as the face of the organization locally, build long-lasting relationships with customers and key stakeholders, have a comprehensive knowledge of Extension programs/services, and will work closely with the ADPs to match customer priority issues and needs with organizational products/services.

Under the new structure the number of administrative management positions across the state will remain the same. The district director position will be broken down into two positions with two very distinct areas of expertise and training. These two positions will work as a team in their designated territory. There will be fewer territories, which will encompass a larger area than the current districts. The new District 9 will include Lancaster, Lebanon, Chester, Berks and Schuylkill counties. A map of the new Districts is below. There will also be more administrative support provided from central administration.

Food, Family & Health

Stacy Reed, Extension Educator, Food, Family & Health Unit

2016 was a year of change for the Penn State Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Team in Lancaster County. I was warmly welcomed on board the Lancaster County Extension Team by the community and my colleagues, as a Family Consumer Sciences Educator focusing on Food Safety and Nutrition in May. The Extension Unit was also changed to Food, Family & Health.

Food Safety & Quality Programming
The Food Safety & Quality Extension team offers food safety programs for adults. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture requires retail food service establishments to have one person certified in food safety to meet licensure and regulatory requirements. Extension teaches the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® curriculum. The Lancaster County Extension Educator offered it ten times since August—from Chester to Franklin County (also serving Lancaster, York and Adams). A hundred organizations participated in ServSafe® classes offered by Extension.

Non-profit organizations who do not fall under the above state requirement can participate in our Cooking for Crowds workshop which teaches safe food handling practices. Four workshops were offered since September in both Lancaster and York Counties. Fifteen organizations participated in the workshop to learn about preventing: time temperature abuse, cross-contamination, and how to have good personal hygiene practices when handling food during community events. By teaching good Food Safety practices to retail food service operations and volunteer organizations since August Extension impacted ~30,000 people these food service establishments serve daily and ~5,650 people the volunteer organizations serve during community events.

Research based home food preservation services were offered by Martha Zepp and volunteers. Two new Master Food Preserver Volunteers were trained this year.

Nutrition, Diet and Health Education
StrongWomen is in its 12th year of programming in Lancaster County. It is humbling to see each session the participants return and to hear how the strength training and nutrition lessons effect their health and daily lives.

In November, Extension offered Dining with Diabetes. Nine women participated increasing their knowledge about managing the disease. Healthy nutrition and exercise practices were taught during the class series.

Outreach in 2016
Oregon Dairy Days, Ag Progress Days, Garden Days
Calvary Church Back to School Event
Traditions of America +55 Community in Lititz Health Fair
Harrisburg SciTech High School
Hill Farm Estates In-Service
Lancaster County Ag Week
LNP Food Section, Let’s Preserve Newsletter and Lancaster Farming

Early Childhood Education

Cynthia Pollich, Extension Educator, Early Childhood Education/Family Strengths

Pennsylvania’s Children
In Pennsylvania, approximately 56% of the 1,011,303 children under age six need some form of child care as their parents work (Child Care Aware PA State Fact Sheet, 2015). Research tells us that high-quality early childhood education improves the development and learning of young children and long-term outcomes of such education include lasting positive effects on social behavior and school readiness and progress.

Children who enter school unprepared, without the social, emotional and academic skills they need, often stay behind and struggle in school. According to a 2011 summary of research conducted by the PEW Center on the States, limited skills and low educational attainment bear a high cost to society. Special education, social welfare programs, and crime and delinquency costs place a financial burden on communities and citizens. In addition, people who are not productive members of the community do not contribute to it, resulting in a significant economic impact. Providing high quality early care is also smart government. Investments in high-quality early education generate economic returns of over $8 for every $1 spent. (President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ 2015 Report)

The Penn State Extension Better Kid Care program empowers and strengthens the capacity of professionals and parents to nurture, support, and guide children ages birth to twelve years to become caring, competent and healthy adolescents.

Penn State Extension Educators conduct community-based workshops and conferences for early learning and out-of-school time professionals. Annually, a menu of research based topics is selected based on local needs.

More than 4,000 child care providers completed evaluation surveys following their attendance at in-person workshops or conferences. Of those attending, 89% indicated that they learned a lot to a great deal during the professional development program and 90% also indicated that they intend to use the information with the children or families in their care. 96% of the participants rated the program as good to excellent. The number of children who benefit from the caregiver knowledge and skill gained is significant. 61% of the 4,262 participants care and educate more than 13 children each day. Additionally 97% of the participants indicated that they shared information learned with others (colleagues and/or parents).

Nutrition Links

Donna Sullivan, Nutrition Education Advisor

Nutrition Links in Lancaster County
The Penn State Nutrition Links program offers free nutrition education programs to participants eligible for public assistance to develop the skills necessary to achieve a healthful diet on a limited budget.

Program Objectives:

  • Increase knowledge of basic nutrition
  • Increase ability to select and prepare nutritional foods
  • Improve food safety practices
  • Increase ability to manage food budgets and resources
  • Increase frequency of healthy food choices

Program Comparison:

  • Annual allocation from USDA to Cooperative Extension system
  • Focused on caregivers of young children
  • Conducted in a series of classes


  • Funded by annual contract from PA Department of Welfare’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program


  • Targets SNAP eligible residents across their lifespan
  • Conducted in a series of classes or one time activity

Programming Sites 2016
The Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP) held the following classes:

  • Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center-educating incarcerated and sheltered youth
  • Vantage House-a residential treatment facility for women and their children in Lancaster City
  • Salvation Army-Pathways of Hope program in Lancaster City

The Pennsylvania Tracks Program (PA Tracks) provided nutrition education programs to more than 120 area senior citizens each month. Classes were held at the following centers:

Cocalico, Elizabethtown, Lititz, New Holland, Lancaster Rec, SACA, Millersville, Solanco


Program Outreach for 2016:
EFNEP Program

  • More than 1,700 youth contacts were made
  • More than 16 adult caregivers graduated in 2016
  • More than 240 nutrition lessons taught
  • Over 258 hours of programming

PA Tracks
1,791 total participants
91 programs held

Food Preservation

Martha Zepp, Food Preservation Consultant, Family and Consumer Sciences

Home Food Preservation
The focus of the Penn State Extension Food Preservation program is applying procedures that will insure a safe and high quality product when canning, freezing, or drying foods. Information is provided to consumers by consultant, Martha Zepp. Seven volunteers assisted with workshops, displays, and dial gauge testing. Both men and women of all ages seek safe and up-to-date information on preserving food at home.

In 2016 we offered demonstration classes on Freezing Fruits and Vegetables, Canning Tomatoes and Fruit, Atmospheric Steam Canning, and Pressure Canning. Sixty-two people participated in these classes. Martha and Stacy Reed presented programs on preserving and using pumpkin and winter squash for Lancaster County Ag Week in October. Displays were staffed at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show, at Oregon Dairy Farm Days, at the Summer Garden Experience, and at Ag Progress Days. Martha demonstrated how to use the Atmospheric Steam Canner at Ag Progress Days.

Print media provides indirect contact with many people. Four issues of the Let’s Preserve Newsletter were published with a circulation of over 1000 including both email and hard copy. Thirty-one articles were written for the Well Preserved column in Lancaster Farming. As a result of these articles, many phone calls and emails were received and questions answered. News media increasingly sees Penn State Extension as a source of food preservation information and Martha was interviewed and quoted in three articles this year.

Master Food Preservers
Penn State offered intensive training in all methods of Food Preservation to newly hired educators and to volunteers. Martha instructed three of the classes for this training. After completing the training and passing the Serve Safe Course, volunteers are qualified to be Master Food Preservers and can answer questions, teach workshops, and staff displays. Lancaster County has two new Master Food Preservers—Melissa Anderson and Marcia Myer —that will be donating at least twenty hours each year.

Pressure Canner Dial Gauge Testing
Accurate dial gauges are essential for safe canning of meats and other low acid foods. USDA recommends that pressure canner dial gauges be tested yearly for accuracy. One-hundred fourteen dial gauges were tested at five off-site venues, as well as here at the Farm and Home Center. Dial gauge testing provides another opportunity to answer questions, distribute handouts, and provide research based information.

Strong Women/Dining with Diabetes

Lynda J. Lueck-stoner, Nutrition Consultant, Family and Consumer Sciences

Dining with Diabetes
Type 2 and pre-diabetes education classes were offered spring and fall by our nutrition consultant and regional dietician. This series of 5 classes is designed to teach people how to understand and implement the lifestyle factors necessary to manage Type 2 or prevent pre-diabetes from worsening. Diabetes is both preventable and manageable. We focus on teaching how to decrease one’s blood sugar and insulin resistance while making the most of the body’s insulin production. Many participants’ medications can then be reduced or even eliminated.

We are pleased to announce the next diabetes class series will be taught by Stacy and myself from 2:00-4:30PM at our office beginning March 7, 2017. A family member is welcome and encouraged to accompany registrants.

StrongWomen/Growing Stronger
Since their inception here twelve years ago this month the SW/GS classes continue to improve the registrants’ health in a multitude of ways—better balance and flexibility, reduced arthritis and diabetic symptoms, less joint pain, and regained body strength. Another significant result of the classes is an increase or a stabilization of bone density which is indicative of reversing the usual decline due to aging. Strength training helps to prevent frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone. It greatly reduces the likelihood of fracture and the subsequent expensive costs of medical care and rehabilitation.

The coordinator teaches and supervises the eight instructors who currently offer five classes at our office location, as well as at Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren. This program continues to meet a real need and niche in our community for women who strive to protect their health with research-based nutrition education and strength training/balance exercises.

StrongWomen Instructor Training
At the special request of our state program leader, Dr. Marilyn Corbin, Lynda and Nancy Wiker (who came out of retirement to volunteer her time) conducted two more trainings of new instructors last fall near Reading and Penn State main campus. Thirty-five more women will now be able to continue to expand this successful program throughout our state and beyond.

4-H Animal Sciences

Lori M. Little, Extension Educator, 4-H Animal Science

Quality Animal Management
Three hundred forty-nine 4-H animal science members completed quality animal management trainings. These trainings meet the requirements that are expected by producers for products entering the food and fiber system and equine recreational activities and competitions. Through the use of accepted animal husbandry practices our youth will produce a quality product that meets consumer demands for product quality, wholesomeness and production accountability. This year’s training focused on three key factors: developing an animal health management plan, using antibiotics safely and identifying and tracing animals. After the training, the members reported:


  • 99% of members identified three components of their animal health plan.
  • 92% of members reported to always work with a veterinarian before administering antibiotics.
  • 97% of members reported to always calculate the correct dosage for the weight of their animal.
  • 97% of members reported to always keep accurate records regarding the medication administered to their animal.

4-H Dairy Program
4-H Dairy club members had a year full of educational activities including an all-day workshop to learn how to prepare for the upcoming fair season, farm tours through Franklin County, day spent with a veterinarian, dairy judging and lots of dairy bowl! The teen members taught the newer members how to bathe and clip an animal, as well as teaching some showmanship skills.

In the middle of July, our county dairy show was held at the Solanco Fairgrounds in conjunction with the Lancaster County Holstein Association Show. Thirty-four members and 98 animals were entered in the show. Fourteen members with twenty-eight animals were entered at the District Dairy Show. Congratulations to Caroline Arrowsmith, Nicole Arrowsmith and Dalton Pickel who exhibited the Best Animal Bred and Owned in their classes. Caroline and Dalton were also awarded Best Udder in their class. Additionally, Caroline Arrowsmith, Nicole Arrowsmith, Ethan Balmer, and Roy Bramm were all awarded Master Showman awards for their excellent showmanship skills.

Family Farm Days
Educators, summer interns, 4-H members and leaders all helped at Family Farm Days held at Oregon Dairy in June. In an effort to educate youth about agriculture, 4-H staff coordinated an “I-Spy” activity as one of the agricultural literacy programs. The event educated over 10,000 community members on agriculture issues including milk production, poultry industry, animal nutrition, sheep industry, and environmental factors involving the agricultural sector. 4-H members also presented dairy, rabbit and horse presentations at the Barnyard Theater, as well as spinning demonstrations in the petting zoo area. Members also provided pony rides, sheep, goats and rabbits for the petting zoo and supervised a chick hatching display for the public.

This event also serves as a marketing tool for the 4-H program as we try to inform and recruit new families to the 4-H program.

Emily Welk, Program Assistant, 4-H Livestock

4-H Beef, Swine and Woolies Clubs
The Red Rose Beef, Swine and Woolies Clubs have 156 members and 17 Volunteer Livestock Leaders. Each club holds meetings about six times a year for educational meetings, fundraisers and social activities.

The Beef Club toured Herr Angus Farm in Nottingham. Members also gathered at the Lampeter Fairground with their steer for a hoof trimming clinic. Leaders held a fitting and showmanship workshop and a halter breaking calf selection meeting in the fall. The Swine club toured White Oak Mills, as well as doing community service at the Global Aid Network in Mount Joy. Members sorted clothes and food to be sent overseas. The Swine Club also welcomed a new leader, Stephen Geib to the club. The Woolies Club visited Tudbinks’ Farm and had Veterinarian Cindy Foulke attend a meeting. The Woolies and Beef Clubs had successful sub sales, both raising over $1000 to be used for awards, premiums and club expenses.

Livestock Round Up
Round Up was held at the end of July at the West Lampeter Fairgrounds. Members exhibited 141 market and breeding animals. Beef Club member, Joe Zimmerman received the Abe and Jane Hess showmanship award. Emma Musser was selected Grand Champion Steer, Maddie Musser was selected Grand Champion Market Hog and Garrett Jenkins received the Champion Market Lamb and Champion Showman in the Woolies Club

Rookie Workshop

A Rookie Workshop was held in June for first and second year members. The workshop gave members in the swine, sheep and goat clubs an opportunity to have hands on experience and ask questions on feeding, training, fitting, clipping or showing. 4-H Leaders lead this event at the Welk farm. Leaders share their expertise with novice members. Members and parents are encouraged to clip, shear and practice showing the project animals provided by 4-H members.

4-H & Youth Development

Fourteen clubs reported their community service projects in the state 4-H Community Service Learning Survey. Seventeen community service projects were completed by 4-H families in Lancaster County. Projects included collections for animal shelters, food for Power Packs, sewed pillowcases, held a petting zoo at a local women’s shelter, served food at a shelter, volunteered in a nursing home by singing, playing games and reading to residents and more. Clubs reported a total of 230 4-H members participating and reaching over 1,250 people through these community service projects. Clubs spent 270 hours volunteering of which provided our community a cost-savings of over $5,000. According to leaders, members learned valuable life skills through the participation in community service, including helping others, public speaking, recognizing community needs, and stepping outside their comfort zone. A volunteer reported, the members learned the “awareness of local needs and the self-value building through being able to help others.”

Guiding the Way—A Volunteer Survey

In the Lancaster County 4-H Program, we are fortunate to have 180 screened volunteers and 57 youth volunteers. Forty-five volunteers completed a survey that reported:

  1. On the average, a 4-H leader volunteers 42.5 hours to our 4-H program each year.
  2. Volunteers report their 3 greatest successes in being a volunteer are helping youth expand personal knowledge and skills (31%); making a difference in the life of a child (31%); and observing leadership growth in a child (26%).
  3. As a result of being a 4-H volunteer, 50% of volunteers reported increasing their leadership skills and 47.5% increased their organizational skills.
Volunteer and Member Recognition

The Lancaster County 4-H Program honored members and volunteers at their annual recognition night in October. Michelle Winters was presented The Lifetime Volunteer Award for untiring dedication to the 4-H program. Michelle has been a leader in the Woolies 4-H Club for over 29 years. Her patience and skill working with youth and their projects has spanned generations within the club.

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to LuAnn Gallagher for her commitment to the 4-H program. LuAnn has been an active leader in the Rabbiteers, Spinnin Spurs and Funky Fibers clubs, Advisory Board member and officer, and continuous supporter of the entire Lancaster 4-H program.

Kim Kauffman of the Rough Riders 4-H Club was presented the Heart of 4-H Award for her tireless support and commitment to their club members, club events and activities and the entire county 4-H program.

Our Superior Achievement Award was presented to Elizabeth Gallagher for her outstanding 4-H work, leadership, community service and growth through the Lancaster County and Pennsylvania 4-H program.

2016 4-H Scholarship recipients include Brooke Davis, Elizabeth Gallagher and Emma Padulese. Scholarships are awarded based on member’s leadership, club, county, state and national activities, as well as community service.

Junior Honor Roll was awarded to Taylor Flahart and Cody Little. Senior Honor roll recipients include Hannah Smith and Carley Sheppard.

Congratulations to all of our 4-H award winners.

Lancaster County 4-H Clubs

Milk Duds Dairy Hooves and Hearts Pygmy Goat Pride
Red Rose Beef River Riders Rabbiteers
Dairy Beef Rough Riders Ephrata-Cocalico Community
Market Goat Saddle Cinches Horse Funky Fibers
Woolies Spinnin' Spurs Horse Mount Joy Community
Swine Welsh Mountain Horse Mountville Community
Broken Bit Alpaca with an Agenda Red Rose Fiber Arts
Flint Rockin' Horses Puppies with a Purpose
(Seeing Eye)
Solanco Community

Poultry Science

Gregory P. Martin, Extension Educator

Biosecurity for Poultry Farms

In a continuing effort to support Avian Flu prevention within the state, the educator has been offering talks on the fundamentals of biosecurity on the farm. Focusing especially on the 12 steps that all farms should have in their farm biosecurity plans to help keep AI in its place.

Several talks on this subject were given in the state, along with a national webinar and an invited lecture to the Midwest poultry industry meeting in MN. An invited lecture on this subject will be given at the International Poultry Exposition in Atlanta in January 2017.

Layer School

A six-week short course on Layer Management and Health was presented this year with one of the largest turnouts ever. Industry participation and support in this workshop included guest speakers and an anatomy laboratory where students experienced hands-on techniques for making a flock health survey. Nutrition, lighting, ventilation, health and floor management topics were presented to farm and higher management from a wide cross section of producers in PA and MD.

Youth Program Support

Finding the next generation of poultry workers and owners takes many avenues. Some of our best students at PSU come from the ranks of 4-H and FFA members. Penn State educators have been working with local clubs to prepare for national competitions in Indiana and Kentucky.

The 4-H poultry judging team from Pennsylvania took first place at the National Conference in Kentucky. This team from Montgomery County had the high individual judge as well. The educator serves as national treasurer for the conference and is on the meat evaluation committee for the contest.


Cheryl A. Fairbairn, Extension Educator, Chester County Office

Beef Cattle Education

The 47th Annual Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day was held at the Farm and Home Center with an emphasis on Economics and Understanding the Issues Beyond the Feedlot that affect Lancaster feedlot production. Dr. Derrell Peel from Oklahoma State University was the featured speaker. The event was attended by 155 producers. Dr. Peel gave his predictions for the upcoming market year and Colin Woodall from NCBA gave insight into government regulations that were affecting or will affect farm operations in the coming year. Dr. Peel also focused on Risk Management in the ever changing fed cattle markets. Josh White also from NCBA gave producers a look into Consumer Expectations and informed them of BQA tools that can be used to meet them. Producers were also brought up to date on the new VFD directive that began on January 1, 2017 from Dr. Tom Bass and Dr. Elizabeth Santini.

Northern Tier Meetings

Three consecutive evening meetings were held in Susquehanna, Bradford and Tioga counties for beef producers in that area. Cow/Calf Producers were provided information on successful heat detection and synchronization programs and steps towards developing a successful AI program. Ninety-five producers attended those events.

Calf Fed Holstein Beef Events

A research project was conducted at the Livestock Evaluation Center with 80 calf fed Holsteins. Gains were good on the animals and an open house was held during AG Progress Days which was attended by 300 producers, many from Lancaster County. A wrap up session was conducted in December that gave production information along with economic information from the project. Several regional meetings will be held in 2017 to assist producers interested in feeding Holstein calves to use proper techniques to maximize acceptability of the product and profits.

Beef Cow/Calf Meetings

As a follow up to the beef listening sessions held in 2015, three statewide beef management meetings were held across the state in response to that feedback from the listening sessions to provide hands-on experience to new and seasoned cow/calf producers in castration, implanting, and handling of cattle. One hundred twenty producers attended the meetings across the state where producers were given up to date information on implanting calves for maximum growth and performance and correct castration techniques. At the Berks County site producers were able to use a state of the art handling facility helping them to see the necessity of a good working system.

Work is being conducted by the Beef Producers Working Group to develop an online survey that will reach many more producers across the state and enable us to meet the educational needs of the industry as determined by producers. That survey should be available in 2017.

Dairy Science

Mauricio Rosales, Dairy Educator

New Dairy Educator in Lancaster County
Mauricio Rosales is the most recent addition to the Penn State Extension Team. Last November, Mauricio started his activities as Dairy Educator in Lancaster County based at the Farm and Home Center.

Originally from Ecuador, Mr. Rosales graduated from University of Minnesota with a Masters’ degree in Animal Science. During his time in MN, he implemented and conducted nutritional physiology studies with dairy cows and calves. Additionally, he has worked as an Assistant Manager and as an Assistant Herdsman in commercial dairy farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. Furthermore, he has participated in several educational activates in both English and Spanish. Some of his experiences include work with transition and fresh cows health, dairy nutrition and calf management.

His goal is to design and implement educational programs that can benefit dairy producers in Lancaster County and the rest of Pennsylvania. These programs will include dairy management, ruminant nutrition, and dairy herd health. He will also work closely with the Hispanic dairy employees that in recent years have become an important input for the dairy industry of Pennsylvania. Technical trainings and educational programs in Spanish will be created to target this segment of our community.

As a new member of Penn State Extension, he has been participating in numerous activities in order to get familiar with the area and the community of Lancaster. This includes farm visits, meeting with industry representatives and training sessions. Additionally, he has been collaborating in the creation of an on-line course for best milking practices in Spanish.

Mauricio is an intelligent, passionate, and thoughtful individual and we are excited to welcome him to our Penn State Extension team!

Agricultural Engineering

Dan McFarland, Extension Educator-York County Office

Improving Environments for Dairy Calves, Heifers and Cows
Improving air quality and comfort in dairy cattle shelters continues to be a primary focus of Extension agricultural engineering programs in Southcentral Pennsylvania. This past year educator visited over 140 individual farms in Southcentral Pennsylvania (55 in Lancaster County) to evaluate and suggest improvements to existing facilities, or assist in planning new ones. In addition, over 500 producers and ag professionals attended presentations that were delivered on dairy system design and management topics at Extension and industry sponsored meetings.

Non-Electric Farms Want Improved Summer Ventilation Too
Many Amish dairy producers want to help reduce heat stress for their cows during hot weather using tunnel ventilation systems that provide a rapid air exchange and air movement in the stable. While they can’t take advantage of electric motor driven fans used by their “English” neighbors, engine-driven hydraulic or belt-drive fan options are available. To perform properly proper exhaust fan sizing and placement, along with appropriate fresh air inlet size and location is necessary. This is typically a challenge in existing structures, especially ‘bank’ barns, to achieve satisfactory performance.

This past year educator visited 15 “non-electric” farms in Lancaster County requesting assistance in design of new tunnel ventilation systems, or to evaluate existing systems and suggest improvements. Four of the six farms requesting new system design were installed in 2016. Performance of existing tunnel ventilation systems was evaluated for an additional nine farms. Two of these systems performed adequately, the remaining seven required modifications to fresh air inlet size and placement to improve air exchange and air movement. When asked if they noticed an improvement in milk production during this summer compared to 2015, four farms indicated increases of five to ten pounds per cow per day, or additional milk income of approximately $25 to $50 per cow per month during hot weather.

Farm Safety

Kay L. Moyer, Extension Educator

Farm & Home School Safety Program
In the past year, the Farm and Home School Program was presented to 87 Anabaptist schools and Home School Association groups in Lancaster and surrounding Counties in Pennsylvania. Over 3,170 students and preschool children and 664 adults attended the safety program. Education provided included: silo and manure pit gas, farm equipment safety, falls through hay holes, and when to seek medical help after an injury. Families were provided the “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Concussion Stories”.

Hay hole covers will continue to be provided to a farm family to prevent children from falling down a hay hole resulting in a traumatic brain injury. This year the American Trauma Society has provided funding for 50 more hay hole covers and Hershey Medical Center also has funding for another 68 hay hole covers.

Road safety continues to be a large part of the school safety program. The Road Safety Activity Book, “See and Be Seen!” is provided to each family and teacher. To date, over 20,000 reflective safety vests have been provided to students, vocational students, and teachers to help alert drivers to slow down. Thanks to all the many volunteers who help cut materials, vests, and/or sew the vests.

It’s difficult for a driver to see anyone walking or riding on the road especially when it is getting dark, early in the morning, when it’s cloudy, or when there is sun glare. Drivers only see those dressed in dark clothing at night about 50-55 feet ahead but reflective material is seen 500 feet or more.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in young children who are injured or died because they were run-over by a tractor, skid steer loader, or a forklift. The Farm and Home Safety program is making vests that fit 2-4 year-old children so they can wear the vest when playing outside near the driveway. The vests will help alert vehicle drivers and farm equipment drivers to slow down.

Funding from the National Children’s Center has made it possible to create a new activity book on “Farm Equipment Safety”. The booklet is now in rough draft and will be printed and provided at future school programs. The activity book includes information on how to safely operate skid steer loaders and forklift equipment, why center of gravity is the key to equipment roll-over occurrences and ways to prevent children from being run-over by equipment.

CPR/Emergency First Aid Response and Pesticide Safety Education

CPR and first aid are provided for home school groups, vocational students and families. There were 154 adults and youth who took part in a CPR/First Aid class. Pesticide education and study sessions for those who wanted to take the pesticide certification exam were provided to over 600 persons.

There were 14 Safety day programs held with education provided to 3,459 children and adults. Road safety and information about home and farm safety were provided, as well as many safety vests.


Jeffrey S. Graybill, Extension Educator

Hay and Balage Production Workshop
The production of high quality hay crops is always a challenge. Multiple cuttings dictate that these crops need to be closely watched all season and are more than liable to be hit with a bout of rain or drought which can have significant effects on quality. Hay production, especially grass hay, often takes a back seat to corn and soybeans, when hay can often generate an equal or greater return. Much of the dry hay produced in the county finds its way off the farm and through an auction for sale where the quality can greatly affect its value.

On December 16, 2016 a hay producer workshop was held with 49 in attendance. Topics included:
Marketing and

Over 4,600 acres of hay production valued at about $2.6 million dollars were produced by those in attendance.

Tobacco Good Agricultural Practices “GAP” Program
The GAP program was begun in 2014 as an attempt by the tobacco industry to standardize recordkeeping, educate growers on production practices, and document the production of the crop in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Funded by the industry, all growers are strongly encouraged to become GAP certified and participate in the required annual training events. In March of 2016, a series of six certification and training meetings were held across the state of which four were in Lancaster County. Approximately 1,000 growers attended and received three hours of training in topics such as pest control, chemical use and residue management, fertility and worker safety. Soil health and sustainable production practices are also emphasized as part of the GAP program.

New No-Till Transplanter Design and Field Testing
No-till crop production has increased significantly in Lancaster County over the past 10 years. Once reluctant to adopt no-till, many in the “Plain” community are now enthusiastically embracing it. In fact, there is strong interest in using no-till to produce many non-traditional crops such as tobacco, pumpkins and many vegetables.

In 2015 a grant was shared with the Lancaster Conservation District to design, construct, and field test a no-till transplanter. Now in the second year of this program, we have seen some impressive results. Two identical machines were built by a local Amish shop in 2016, and more are planned for the upcoming season. Over 50 farms have tried one of the machines, with well over 100 acres of no-till tobacco planted.


Timothy E. Elkner, Extension Educator

Vegetable and Small Fruit Research
This season a coordinated pumpkin variety trial was conducted at three locations across the state with one site at the Penn State SE Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Manheim. Pumpkins are an important crop to growers in Pennsylvania and in 2015 production was valued at $14.6 million by the USDA. Variety evaluations provide farmers in Lancaster and across the Commonwealth with recommendations on the best varieties to plant. Twenty-four medium-sized pumpkin selections were evaluated in the trial and plans are to repeat the study in 2017. This research was supported with funding from the PA Vegetable Marketing and Research Board.

A second season of harvest data was collected from the strawberry plasticulture variety trial established at the Research and Extension Center in 2014. New and unnamed varieties were compared to current selections for yield and fruit quality. Several strawberry varieties have been identified that will be recommended to growers for new plantings. In addition, one selection from the Rutgers breeding program had excellent yields and fruit quality. If this selection is named and released it will also be recommended.

Other research conducted in 2016 included tomato and celery variety trials and evaluation of a new fertilizer product on tomato. Results from these studies will be presented at county, state and regional grower meetings. Articles will also be written for the state vegetable newsletter and Lancaster Farming newspaper.

Allium Leafminer Research
In December of 2015 a new invasive insect, the allium leafminer, was found in Lancaster County. The PA Department of Agriculture has since confirmed the presence of this insect in 17 PA counties. Working with the Penn State vegetable entomologist, information was distributed via press releases and a factsheet to alert growers statewide to the presence of this destructive insect. Funding from the PA Vegetable Growers Association was used for field monitoring this fall, as well as to evaluate the use of colored sticky-traps for measuring leafminer populations. Field scouting will continue in 2017 to determine the spring emergence pattern. In addition, a more rapid method to inform growers of leafminer activity will be implemented.

Master Gardener Program

Lois Miklas, Master Gardener Coordinator

Master Gardener Program in Lancaster County

The Penn State Master Gardener volunteer program supports Penn State Cooperative Extension by utilizing research-based information to educate the public on the best practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. This mission is fulfilled through the following projects:

  • Gardening with youth at the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center
  • Gardening with female inmates at the Lancaster County Prison
  • Maintain native plant, raised bed, vegetable and herb, small fruit, and butterfly Idea Gardens
  • Garden Hotline
  • Kids in the Garden program, including “Mr. Yuk” poison prevention programs at local schools
  • Horticultural Therapy for older adults at Conestoga View
  • Speakers Bureau
  • Annual Garden Symposium and Plant Sale
  • Staff educational booths at the Pennsylvania Farm Show and other venues
Gardening at the Youth Intervention Center and Lancaster County Prison

Gardens at both the Lancaster County Prison and the Youth Intervention Center are highlights of the Lancaster County Master Gardener program. Both programs follow a similar model in which the on-site garden is a tool for teaching about the importance of plants and pollinators in our environment and the mental and physical benefits of maintaining a garden. Healthy eating is another thrust of the program; almost every session concludes with a snack made of produce from the garden, often assembled by the participants. Writing in a journal and chronicling the experience through photography is another regular part of both programs. Many of the participants express a desire to create a garden at home as a result of working with our Master Gardeners.

A New Idea Garden

Lancaster County Master Gardeners maintain five Idea Gardens at Penn State’s Southeast Area Research and Extension Center. This past growing season an underused area was converted to a Butterfly Garden. The new garden features plants that serve as nectar sources and also host plants for butterfly and moth eggs and larvae. The garden provided a critical mass of butterfly-attracting plants and was noticeably populated with the winged insects by June. And, monitoring in September revealed 235 monarch butterfly larvae in the garden on one day alone. The garden provides a great model for home gardeners who wish to enjoy colorful butterflies in their own gardens, while supporting the perpetuation of these important pollinators.

Growing the Master Gardener Program

A group of 22 completed a fifteen-session training class in 2016 and are now completing 50 hours of volunteer time in order to become Master Gardeners. A new training class will be offered in 2018. Contact the Penn State Extension office for more information on becoming a Master Gardener.


Sinclair Adam, Extension Educator-Lebanon County

Floricultural Research and Extension

Horticultural industry continues to undergo mergers and consolidations. The number of major flower production companies has shrunk as these mergers take place. The number of flower trials entries in the Penn State Flower Trials is about the same from the previous two years, with close to 1,100 entries in 2016. The wholesale value of these floricultural products is estimated to be $193 million in the state of Pennsylvania (for 2015). The largest category was Petunia/Petchoa containing 110 different entries.

The top five categories of plant submissions in 2016 contained 382 entries, while some categories had only one or two entries. Collaborative sites expanded the attendance again in 2016, with the addition of Allegheny County’s North Park site. Hershey Gardens (Dauphin County) attained over 93,000 visitors, Ag Progress Days (Centre County) was attended by 22,000 visitors, and over 3,000 attended programs or visited the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center, in Manheim, PA. Estimated attendance at North Park alone was over 150,000 visitors, making the total number of visitors at all sites over 250,000 in 2016. With this number of visitors, the Penn State Flower Trials is likely to have the largest attendance of any program of its kind nationally. Penn State Master Gardeners provided considerable assistance for the program in all four locations in 2016. Floricultural program presentations and the Penn State Flower Trials web pages are the major outreach vehicles for dissemination of the results of the trials, as well as printed reports. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, presentations were made in MA, PA, and OH.

Public attendance increased at the Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SEAREC) in 2016, due to good media exposure in both printed and online articles. SEAREC is open to visitation dawn to dusk June 1 through August 31, seven days a week. To schedule a group visit call the Lebanon County Extension Office 717-270-4391 or SEAREC at 717-653-4728.

Floricultural research was conducted on flowering plant nutrition, pollinator preferences, and powdery mildew resistance in Phlox paniculata at SEAREC in 2016. Results of the research on nutrition indicate the benefits of using a tailored petunia fertilizer, as plant quality was improved with both Calibrachoa, and Petunia. A Bio-stimulant study was also conducted both at high phosphorus and low phosphorus levels. Dahlia, and Calibrachoa were tested with four Bio-stimulants: Stimplex, Fertilactyl, Metabolik, Green Stim, and a control (of no bio-stimulants). Plants were analyzed for growth index, chlorophyll level, fresh and day weights. While no treatment was significantly different from the control at the 0.05 level there were numerical differences detected. Pollinator research was conducted jointly with the Penn State Pollinator Research Center, and 5 selected genera with five cultivars of each Genera were evaluated. Zinnia, Pentas, Lobularia, Marigolds, and Lantana were the groups tested. The experiment was conducted in containers at the PSU Rock Springs Research Farm, and at SEAREC. Data is currently being analyzed, and a second experiment will be conducted in 2017 with five Genera of perennial plants. The powdery mildew research showed that all cultivars in the trial did get infected with powdery mildew. Three of the selections were less damaged than the others, and these numbered seedlings will be evaluated in 2017 as well. A cultivar ‘Jenna’ has been grown as a trials entry for three years and has shown no signs of powdery mildew over the period. Hence it will be incorporated in the mildew study in 2017. Jenna will be the basis for breeding development using the cultivars with the lowest incidence of mildew as pollen, and pod parents. The intent of this work is to develop mildew resistant forms of Phlox paniculata.

Farm Food Safety

Jeffrey H. Stoltzfus, Extension Educator

Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization Act, commonly known as FSMA was signed into law in January of 2011 and the regulations went into effect in January of 2016. This Act is the most sweeping change in food regulations in 70 years. It impacts the areas of produce production and packing, imported produce, transportation of produce, and animal feed. Produce growers who gross over $25,000 of produce sales will be covered by the law.

Over the past year the FSMA regulations were explained to 600 growers at 10 grower meetings across the state. Growers are beginning to understand the complexities of the law and how it will impact their farms and workers. One of the challenges of this regulation is determining how many farmers fall under this regulation and how to plan our training around the state. To solve this challenge we are in the process of surveying as many growers as possible to determine the need for food safety training. We are planning on doing several hundred surveys this winter at our winter meetings.

A major requirement of the law will be a seven hour training that growers will be required to attend. Growers who grow less than $250,000 will have 4 years to come into compliance, so this year we are offering four training sessions around the state. There are currently 11 Penn State educators who are qualified to conduct this training.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS)

For the past number of years, wholesale buyers have begun to require their growers to develop food safety plans, maintain logs and records, and have a 3rd party inspection before they would purchase produce. These GAPS audits required the farmers to receive training on topics like managing manure and animals, health and hygiene, use of water in growing and handling produce. To complicate matters even more there are several different audit systems which are required by wholesale buyers. Farmers often need to adjust their food safety system each year to meet the changing demands of buyers. In addition, farmers need help in developing their food safety plans and setting up their record keeping systems.

Mock Audit meetings in the summer help growers see what to expect when an auditor comes to their farm. This past summer, The Wilson Farm for Sustainability in Chambersburg hosted a Mock Audit meeting.

Wholesale Produce Marketing

Many of our Plain community are looking for ways to keep their families involved in farming. Growing produce has become the most popular way to do that. However, roadside stands and even auctions sometimes do not provide enough options for all of the growers that want to grow produce. Farmers have had success in banding together to market their produce to wholesale buyers. Wholesale buyers requirements are complicated and challenging for farmers. This past year, Clarion River Organics, Lancaster Vegetable Farmers, Sunny Harvest, Tusquarara Organic Growers, Sunny Acres are some of the cooperatives that have turned to extension for help in meeting buyers needs. Two other, as yet, unnamed groups have also received assistance as they attempt to develop markets for their produce.

West Nile Virus

David Schmidt, Extension Educator

Lancaster County West Nile Virus Program

It was a busy year with the West Nile Virus program in Lancaster County. In the early part of the year a number of educational events were conducted. In March, the Coordinator spoke with the Ephrata Young Farmer’s group, met with the Lebanon City Councilors and attended a meeting of Boy Scout Camp Managers. In April, the Coordinator was able to conduct an educational outreach at Central Market and speak on the air at WLCH in Lancaster City. He worked with Kim Wissler, Health Officer for Lancaster City on both of the April outreaches. Kim has been a long-time ally of the West Nile Program in Lancaster County, serving on the West Nile Task Force in the early days of the program. At all of these meetings the Coordinator was able to share important mosquito control and safety information with a variety of different groups.

With Zika virus becoming more of a looming threat, the West Nile program now took on broader responsibilities. Zika is new to our hemisphere; we don’t know how far north it will be able to push. Similar diseases like chikungunya or dengue have never established themselves this far north, and that is a good sign. All the same, based on travel cases of the aforementioned diseases and the travel tendencies of Lancaster City, the DEP has labeled the city as being at a relatively higher risk than other PA cities. Grant money was available to help survey and control the Asian tiger mosquito, a potential vector of Zika. Lancaster County was awarded $5,037.60 for Zika surveillance and control. Most of this surveillance and control will take place in Lancaster City, where Asian tiger mosquito populations are greatest, as well as at other locations throughout the county. Most of the surveillance for Zika virus coincides with WNV surveillance and just requires setting an additional trap at the same site. On average, 45 sites were trapped every week from June to September to monitor for WNV and Zika. Two summer technicians assisted with the work in Lancaster County this year; Katherine Hicks and Frank Herr. Both are Biology majors at Millersville University and did an excellent job.

Overall, the 2016 mosquito season was a fairly mild one in terms of West Nile. The survey work have identified 99 positive samples; one human, 92 mosquitoes, three birds and three horses. Last year (2015) there were a total of 94 positives with 90 mosquitoes, 3 birds and 1 human case.

In total, nine sprays targeting adult mosquitoes were conducted, majorly as a response to high populations of the Asian tiger mosquito and high levels of WNV in Lancaster City. This species is a serious human pest and also a potential carrier of Zika virus. Larval control proves to be the most effective form of mosquito control and in total, 97 larval control events took place throughout the county.

In August, two imported Zika cases in Lancaster City were investigated. Door-to-door surveillance, control and education was conducted in conjunction with PA DEP and the PA Department of Health. These measures were undertaken around these two cases to help prevent local transmission of Zika virus.

In an effort to lower mosquito populations for next year and to educate Lancaster County residents, a tire collection was conducted on November 17. The collection was held at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and residents were allowed to bring 4 regular auto tires or 1 oversized tire to have them recycled at no cost. A total of 543 tires were collected from 22 different municipalities during this cleanup.

Nutrient Management Education Program

Jerry Martin, Senior Extension Associate


The Pennsylvania Nutrient Management Act (Act 6) became law in May 1993 and went into effect on October 1, 1997. The policy initiative known as Agriculture, Communities, and Rural Environment (ACRE) resulted in a new law (Act 38) in July 2005, which replaced Act 6. The revised Act 38 regulations went into effect October 1, 2006.

Act 38, as well as Act 6, includes a declaration of legislative purpose for the law which sets forth the following: “The purposes of this chapter are as follows:…(2) To provide for the development of an educational program by the State Conservation Commission in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service of The Pennsylvania State University…to provide outreach to the agricultural community on the proper utilization and management of nutrients on farms to prevent the pollution of surface water and ground water.

Nutrient Management Specialist Certification

Since 1997, Penn State Extension has provided the lead role in the development and ongoing coordination of the Nutrient Management Education Program which prepares nutrient management specialists for certification to write (commercial) and review (public) Act 38 nutrient management plans and nutrient balance sheets.

The following courses are required for certification and are conducted two times each year:

  • Nutrient Management Orientation
  • Managing Manure Nutrients
  • Stormwater & Soil Loss
  • Phosphorus Index
  • ACA & Manure Storage
  • Plan Writing
  • Plan Review
  • NMP & NBS Spreadsheet Orientation

The Nutrient Management Education Program provides the following supplemental courses:

  • Introduction to Livestock Production Systems
  • Horses 101
  • PAOneStop Farm Mapping & Planning

In addition, farmers can become certified to prepare nutrient management plans for their own operations.

Educational Materials and Support

The Nutrient Management Education Program maintains a program website ( Penn State Extension has supported the nutrient management program with an extensive list of publications, videos, presentations, planning spreadsheets, and other planning tools.

Related Program Support

In addition to the Act 38 Nutrient Management Education Program, the educator participates in the Act 49 Manure Hauler & Broker Certification training and coordinates the education program related to Pennsylvania’s Manure Management Manual. This program is designed to help farmers develop the required Manure Management Plan for their farm.

Extension Efforts

(October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016)


Adult Program

Individual Assistance by Staff: 6,560

Individual Assistance by Volunteers: 517

Newspaper Articles Written: 119

Radio Programs and Interviews: 2

Television Programs: 8

Newsletters Written: 15

Number Mailed: 4,263

Correspondence (email/paper) Sent: 8,459

Educational Publications Distributed: 47,505

Meetings Held by Staff: 516

Attendance: 14,177

Meetings Held by Volunteers and Consultants: 329

Attendance: 10,207

Number of Master Gardeners: 108

Master Gardeners Volunteer Hours: 6,487

4-H and Youth

Number of 4-H Clubs: 26

4-H Members Served: 1,133

4-H Projects Carried: 1,660

Adult and Teen 4-H Volunteer Leaders: 237

Meetings Held by 4-H Volunteer Leaders: 301

Attendance: 9,630

Youth Served through Farm Safety Programs: 6,859

2016 Budget

Lancaster County Cooperative Extension
Funds Appropriated by Lancaster County Commissioners

Personal Services: 296,250.00

Office Supplies: 6,000.00

Maintenance, Equipment, Repairs: 1,300.00

Travel: 13,000.00

Office Rent: 116,000.00

Telephone: 7,000.00

Insurance: 7,350.00

Postage: 500.00

Professional Improvement: 1,000.00

Other: 1,600.00

TOTAL: $450,000.00

State and Federal Government Support of Lancaster County

Cooperative Extension (FY2016): $1,864,222.00

West Nile Virus Program Grant from the Pennsylvania

Department of Environmental Protection: $60,840.00

Zika Surveillance and Control Grant from the Pennsylvania

Department of Environmental Protection: $5,037.60

Extension Board

Wayne Martenas, President Robert Kauffman
Lilli Ann Kopp, Vice-President Justine Kreider
Lisa Graybeal, Secretary Jordan Martin
Sidney Sheppard, Treasurer Jeff Mitchell
Judy Bowlby, Assistant Treasurer Bernard Nissley
Robert Barley Jennifer Powell
Chris Burkhart Donald Ranck
Gary Dean Janet Simms
Michael Gerhart
Josh Housekeeper
Dennis Stuckey, County


Advisory Board

4-H Advisory Board
Kathy Jenkins, Chair
Nancy Sweigart, Vice-Chair
Lori Hess, Secretary
Diane Reese, Treasurer
Gerald Boyd
Kelly Czyzewski
Kayley Ellis
Christine Jackson
Wayne Martenas
Leah Martin
Sherry McCarthy
Michelle Walton

Dennis Eby
Jeffrey Frey
Robert Hess
Tim Markovits
Ernest Mast
Kennneth Nolt
Ernest Orr
Jennifer Reed-Harry
H. Grant Troop

Master Gardener Steering Committee
Linda Kay Pressley, Chair
Tom Arndt
Carolyn Fetrow
Linda Macina
Kelly Seidle
George Weaver
Lois Miklas, Coordinator
Tim Elkner, Adviser

Andy Bradford
Les Fisher
Paul Hand
Duane Lehman
Guy Martin
Tom Pantano
Gene Petit
Chris Pierce
Jennifer Shuler
Doug Stone

Extension Staff, Support Staff, Nutrition Links, Summer Interns, Program Assistants/Consultants

Extension Staff
Dr. Timothy Elkner
Jeffrey Graybill
Lori Little
Lynda Lüeck-stoner
Dr. Gregory Martin
Jerry Martin
Lois Miklas
Kay Moyer
Cynthia Pollich
Stacy Reed
Lauren Ressler (Jan-Sept)
Leon Ressler
Mauricio Rosales
David Schmidt (Jan-Sept)
Jeffrey Stoltzfus
Emily Welk
Martha Zepp

Support Staff
Gail Bubernack (Jan-Apr)
Diane Groff, Office Manager
Marilyn Jones
Christine Raczka

Nutrition Links
Debra Boyd, Nutrition Links Supervisor (Dauphin)
Lenelle Roberts, Nutrition Links Training Coordinator (Dauphin)
Donna Sullivan

Summer Interns
Lindsay Boyd (Horticulture)
Franklin Herr (WNV Technician)
Katherine Hicks (WNV Technician)
Katherine Mobley (Horticulture)
Melissa Risser (4-H)
Ben Welk (Agronomy)
Calen Wylie (WNV Technician)

Program Assistants/Consultants
Katherine Acker (StrongWomen™)
Nadena Ament (StrongWomen™)
Doris Aument (StrongWomen™)
Dennis Eby (Agronomy No-Till)
Marysol Graupera (StrongWomen™)
Deborah Moore (StrongWomen™)
Marcia Myer (StrongWomen™ and Certified Food & Wellness Volunteer)
Barry Parsons (ServSafe®)
Joanne Pinero (StrongWomen™)
Linda Sabo (StrongWomen™)
Carol Lee Shirk (Horticulture/StrongWomen™)
Kathy Young (Embryology)