Pennsylvania agriculture continues to change. The number of farms that produce agricultural commodities such as milk or most grains has been falling for a number of years. Commodity items tend to be made into processed products and sold at large retailers and restaurants. Some consumers prefer these foods. However, other consumers place strong value on traits such as how or where the food was produced. Some also simply prefer to support their local farmer. This creates a very real market opportunity for smaller-scale farmers.
As winter settles in over Happy Valley, the PSU Community Garden is wrapping up its first and very successful season. Located on the grounds of the Center for Sustainability (CFS), the garden has been a joint project of the CFS and College of Agriculture student volunteers. The garden is now a permanent part of the CFS masterplan and will compliment the MorningStar solar home as a show piece for sustainability on the PSU campus.
Agriculture in Pennsylvania relies upon insects for crop protection and pollination. Unfortunately, many of our crop production practices can have unintended negative consequences for some beneficial organisms and the valuable agroecological services they provide. Given the recent decline in managed honey bee populations, many growers in Pennsylvania are now looking for alternative ways to ensure pollination of their crops. One way that this can be accomplished is by providing or improving habitat for wild bees.
Penn State offers a wide range of courses related to sustainable agriculture for undergraduate and graduate students. From across several majors and departments, here are a selection of course offerings for the Spring 2010 semester.
Counting carabids in a cup; Claude the clod and other critters; infiltration by rotation races; pernicious plants and weedy wanderers…what do these topics have in common?
For agricultural producers who explore adding value by changing a farm-fresh commodity into a consumer ready food, one of the biggest challenges they face is the cost of setting up a commercial kitchen – especially for a product that has not been tried in the marketplace.
Cover crops are one of the keys to success when it comes to improving soil quality and reducing the impact of agriculture on the environment.
Six years ago, producing certified organic apples in Pennsylvania might have seemed impossible given the wide range of pests and diseases that apple trees are susceptible to. But with increasing input costs and a market flooded with imported apples, Pennsylvania orchardists were hurting and some wondered if the organic option was worth a look.
A team of Penn State researchers are investigating how different organic feed and forage production systems can be managed to deal with perennial weed populations without compromising soil quality.
Existing in such a prime hub for all things sustainable ag, the Penn State Sustainable Agriculture Club is a small group of individuals.
Over one-hundred stakeholders gathered on May 19-20, 2009 in Kerhonkson, New York to explore the research, what works, and what we still need to learn about local and regional food systems.
Ecological weed management promotes weed suppression, rather than weed elimination, by enhancing crop competition and using diverse management practices.
Clean air and water, recycling of nutrients, crop pollination, weed and pest suppression: these are just a few of the services provided to us by the ecological systems that function within our agricultural fields.
Use cover crops to grow your own mulch right where it will be used to suppress weeds for your crops!
During the last few years we have conducted numerous trials at Penn State to assess the potential of various energy crops.
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, with support from the USDA-Extension Service, has developed a series of publications called Agricultural Alternatives.