Nutrient Management – Manure Management – what is this stuff all about? Well, since the Venango Conservation District spends a lot of time on nonpoint source pollution solutions, then it’s a good bet that the management of nutrients and specifically manure would be a good place to address these solutions. Excess nutrients can enter local waterways via stormwater and can cause water quality impairment.
Nutrient Management Plans can help agricultural operations to utilize nutrients on their farm, while utilizing practices to reduce any pollution that might be running off their farm via stormwater. Concentrated Animal Operations are required by law to develop and implement nutrient management plans. Five to ten percent of farms in Pennsylvania are estimated to fall into the Concentrated Animal Operation category. The other 90% of agricultural operations are encouraged to develop and implement nutrient management plans on a voluntary basis.
Pennsylvania requires anyone who land applies manure or agricultural process wastewater to develop and implement a Manure Management plan. Even if a farm does not apply manure mechanically, but might have pastures or Animal Concentration Areas, they still need a manure management plan.
The Venango Conservation District can help operators with their Nutrient Management Plans and their Manure Management plans. The VCD works to seek out funding to help operators install and implement best management practices to assist in implementing plans. The district holds workshops to educate operators on plans and how to get one. Contact the Venango Conservation District at 814-676-2832 to get more information.
What we at the Venango Conservation District call the “Polk Farm” is land owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that was once working farmland. Students of what was originally known as the State Institution for Feeble-minded of Western Pennsylvania established in 1893 worked to learn manual dexterity. Students cleared stones and brush, grew crops and cared for livestock.
Eventually the school discontinued farming the property. The Venango Conservation District entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth to manage 450 acres of school land. Thanks to our cooperator, Sandy Valley Farms, this property has been transformed back into a working farm.
Modern farming practices such as no-till planting, contour strips and vegetative buffers are utilized. A great benefit of the farm is the opportunity to showcase these practices as an educational tool. The VCD sponsors a field day event on a regular basis where the public is invited to learn more about land management and conservation practices.
We’ll be holding a Field Day event on Thursday September 17th 2015.
The Venango Conservation District, in conjunction with the Mercer County Conservation District will be sponsoring an Agricultural Field Day. We’ll have presentations on many agricultural practices as well as information from many sponsors of the event and even pesticide credits. Here is a closer look at the presentations that we’ll be offering:
COVER COP BENEFITS – Joel Hunter, Agronomist for the Penn State Cooperative Extension will be talking about the benefits of cover crops. Cover cropping is one of the most rapidly growing soil and water conservation strategies. It is an accepted environmental practice and in fact, NRCS has set a goal to increase the acres planted nationally in cover crops from 2 million to 20 million by 2020. The benefits of cover crops are increased carbon and nitrogen in soils, erosion prevention, increased beneficial soil fungus colonization and weed suppression.
RAINFALL SIMULATOR – Tim Elder, Grazing Specialist for the USDA-NRCS will provide a demonstration consisting of five soil samples such as traditionally tilled soil and no-till soil and soil collected from a forest. He will simulate a heavy rain event and explain how tillage affects soil erosion and water absorption.
INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS – just before lunch we’ll hear about USDA-NRCS programs and their benefits to producers. We’ll hear about the Pennsylvania Nutrient Management and Manure Management programs and we’ll learn about the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP).
VISIT WITH THE SPONSORS – this year, there are many sponsors to our event. During lunch, participants will have an opportunity to visit displays from sponsors and cooperators to gather information on how each one can benefit farming operations.
STREAM BANK STABILIZATION SITE VISIT – Lance Bowes, District Manager of the Venango Conservation District will lead a field visit to a nearby stream bank stabilization site. He will explain how work at this site has reduced nonpoint source pollution to the stream and saved the agricultural field from washing away during storm events.
MANAGING CORN FOLIAR DISEASES – Kevin Fry, Field Agronomist of DuPont Pioneer will give a presentation on managing diseases with DuPont’s foliar health program
OPTIONAL PRESENTATION – after the conclusion of the day, we welcome you to stay a bit later to participate in a presentation on Agricultural Management Solutions (AMS) Ike Vorisek of Elder’s Ag & Turf will give a presentation on this latest GPS technology for agriculture.
The Venango Conservation District, in conjunction with the Mercer County Conservation District will be coordinating and Agricultural Field Day on Thursday September 17th from 10am to 3pm. The event will be hosted by the Mike Ohler family of Sandy Valley Farms located at 632 Valley Road, Polk PA 16342. This Agricultural Field Day event will provide an opportunity for local farmers to attend an event at a localized level to learn more about the importance and benefits of agricultural practices that help conserve farm land, and ultimately prevent and/or limit nonpoint source pollution.
9:30-10:00 Registration/Visit with Sponsors
10:15-10:45 Cover Crop Benefits
Joel Hunter; Agronomist-Penn State Ext.
10:45-11:15 Rainfall Simulator/Soil Health
Tim Elder; Grazing Specialist-NRCS
11:15-12:00 Informational Sessions
· NRCS Programs (10 min)
· Nutrient & Manure Management
Laurel Rush; Western PA NM
· Resource Enhancement & Protection (REAP)/Farmer Testimony
Joel Semke; REAP Coordinator
12:00-1:00 Lunch/Visit with Sponsors
1:00-1:45 Steam Bank Stabilization
Lance Bowes; District Manager-Venango Conservation District
1:45-2:00 Travel to Field Site
2:00-2:30 Managing Corn Foliar Diseases
Kevin Fry; Field Agronomist-DuPont Pioneer
2:30-3:00 Return to Farm/Evaluations
3:00-4:00 Agricultural Management Solutions (AMS) - The Latest In GPS Technology
Ike Vorisek; Elders Ag & Turf
Contact the Venango Conservation District at 814-676-2832 for more information or to register by September 10th.
click here for informational brochure