In the “three-legged stool” of sustainable agriculture, the environmental leg often receives the most popular and academic attention. But in order for farmers to operate in ways that are ecologically sustainable, they must also consider the economic and social implications of their farm management practices. The employment and management of hired farm workers raise critical questions for small-scale farm operators with regards to the economic viability of their farms as well as the social sustainability of their practices.
On Friday, February 12th, there was standing room only as Jim Crawford, owner of New Morning Farm and president of Tuscarora Organic Growers, presented the spring semester Sustainable Agriculture Seminar organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group and co-hosted by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. In addition to his seminar, “Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative: Twenty years of helping small growers compete in a big market,” Crawford visited with students, faculty and staff to discuss his 38 years of experience as an organic farmer.
As winter nears its end, warmer days and cold nights signal the beginning of maple syrup season.
To date, Penn State Extension has participated in over 350 programs and presentations in 60 of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania as well as surrounding states. This article describes the types of programming conducted by Penn State's Marcellus Education Team.
A new publication on maple syrup production is available in Penn State's Agricultural Alternatives series and SARE has released several new books including the 3rd edition of Building Soils for Better Crops, Crop Rotation on Organic Farms, and Youth Renewing the Countryside.
Two Penn State groups recently received funding for programs to support new farmers through the USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. In southeastern Pennsylvania, a team of Extension Educators is launching a program called "Start Farming" which will bring courses, workshops, and expert assistance to new farmers. The Pennsylvania Women's Agricultural Network is using a peer learning approach to offer programs on business planning and marketing, sustainable production and value-added processing, and stewardship of air, land and water resources.
Increasingly, Pennsylvania farmers are using cover crops to limit erosion from fields, control weed growth, fix nitrogen in the soil, feed livestock and produce biomass for energy. But depending on an agricultural producer's needs, all cover crops are not created equal, according to Bill Curran, a professor of weed science in Penn State's Crop and Soil Sciences Department. To help farmers determine how best to integrate cover crops into their operations, Curran and colleagues Eric Nord and Rich Smith, both postdoctoral associates, and Matt Ryan, a doctoral degree candidate in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, recently published a new fact sheet titled "Suppressing Weeds Using Cover Crops in Pennsylvania."
What is in a seed? Some may answer germ or starch; but others, such as Tim Mountz , president of Happy Cat Farm, would answer culture. Mountz inherited a mason jar filled with beans of every color from his grandfather. “It was just that last little connection with my grandfather that I had,” Mountz recalls. Mountz’s grandfather had grown the beans, saved them, and now years later his grandson would attempt to grow the same beans his grandfather had sown. Mountz didn’t have experience with gardening like his grandfather had, but he did have determination to not lose his cultural link.
As someone with an abiding interest in sustainability standards and certification, I was excited to see that the Food Alliance had a session planned at this year’s PASA conference. The Food Alliance began in 1994 in the Northwest region, where it is well-recognized and has a very strong presence. It more recently moved into the Midwest, and is only just beginning operations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Even under ideal weather and housing conditions pneumonia is often just around the corner.
Research published in the December issue of the Journal of Dairy Science evaluated the effects of cold stress on calf growth, health, and immunity.
Availability of corn distillers grains plus solubles has increased substantially and, consequently, the interest in using these feeds in dairy cattle diets has also increased.
A Layton family has lost its second daughter since toxic pesticide fumes apparently wafted into their home last weekend. Rachel Toone, 15 months, died Tuesday at Primary Children's Medical Center. Three days earlier her 4-year-old sister, Rebecca, died at Davis Hospital after she had begun struggling to breathe in the family's home.
Stan Lembeck was very happy recently when he learned that a newly certified Master Planner had been appointed to a township planning commission in Berks County.
Water quality and water conservation will be the focus of five Web-based seminars produced by Penn State Cooperative Extension this spring. Topics will include water testing, septic systems, managing ponds and lakes, and safe drinking water.
Wildlife biologists often speak about "balancing" the deer herd. What does this mean? Webinars and the Deer Density and Carrying Capacity Workshops are two types of programs to enlighten participants about white-tailed deer habitat management.
Omega 3 study results on stallion fertility and broodmares.