The Venango Conservation District (VCD) employs Jane Price as the district’s Agricultural Resource Technician. The purpose of the position is to assist agricultural operators by providing technical assistance on such things as soil sampling, plan writing, providing Best Management Practice (BMP) information etc. One of Jane’s main jobs is to help operators with Nutrient Management and Manure Management planning.
MANURE MANAGEMENT PLAN (MMP) - In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, anyone who produces, spreads, hauls, or utilizes manure is required to obtain a Manure Management Plan. This plan is very simple and the VCD can help with writing plans. The plan compiles information about the operation, which includes maps, crop information, where/how manure is kept, and how manure is utilized on the property. Most importantly, the plan identifies any environmentally sensitive areas on the property.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT PLAN (NMP) - If an operation has an overabundance of animals or does not have enough land to spread all the manure being produced so that manure has to be hauled off the property, then the operation is required by the Commonwealth to have a Nutrient Management Plan. This plan is more complex and can be written by the VCD or a consultant that is NMP Certified.
WHAT – A Nutrient Management plan helps operators to better understand how they can best utilize nutrients on their property. These nutrients may consist of lime, fertilizer, and manure. Soil samples and manure samples help technicians determine when to apply and the quantity that should be applied. It is important that the operator knows this information so that they don’t over apply or apply at the wrong time. A technician can gather all the operator’s management practices information and nutrient values information. The data is used to compute what fields are utilizing the nutrients and to ensure that no excess nutrients become pollutants through runoff to local water bodies.
WHO – Some operations can have a NMP written for their operation voluntarily. Some operations are required by law to have a NMP. If a farm exceeds 2 animal equivalent units (AEU) per acre on a yearly basis, it is defined as a concentrated animal operation (CAO). CAO operations are required to have a NMP. Almost all NMPs in Venango County are Volunteer Animal Operations (VAO).
WHY – If a farmer is producing more manure than can be spread and is a CAO, the PA Law states that the farmer would need a NMP. A farmer would also need a NMP to receive certain funding. If the operator was interested in the NRCS EQUIP Program funding, then they would be required to have a current NMP in place. Some grants and agencies that are available to farmers require or will work with an operator to get a NMP before any more extensive technical processes happen or funding awarded. An operator may want to upgrade from a MMP to a NMP because they want to better understand how the nutrients on their farm can more effectively be applied and if time and money could be saved.
THE VCDS ROLE IN MMP AND NMP - To become a certified NMP Specialist for a conservation district and through the State Conservation Commission (SCC) a technician needs to complete a number of trainings and pass a state exam to become certified. The final step is to write and review a set number of NMPs that will be reviewed by other technicians that are certified. The number of plans a technician striving for certification must write and review is determined by the level of certification to be achieved.
Jane is currently working toward her final certification. She has written one plan for James McCall, whose operation is in Venango County. Mr. McCall owns 60 acres and has a 100-head beef farm. The operation is considered a VAO. He implements a rotational grazing system. He was able to install some BMPs with help from the NRCS EQUIP Program. He has some agreements with other local farmers for rented pasture that he moves his animals to for the grazing season. Mr. McCall sells his grass-fed beef to casinos in Erie and New York and to some local restaurants as well.
If you are a landowner interested in more information on how you can get technical assistance, or to inquire about potential grant opportunities, contact Jane Price at the VCD by phone at 814-676-2832 and by email at email@example.com.
The Venango Conservation District is happy to announce that they will be offering the sponsorship of five Venango County agricultural producers to attend the upcoming 2018 Western PA Annual Grazing Conference, located in Clarion, PA on March 21st and 22nd, 2018. This is a two day event with the option to attend one or both days. Sponsorship of this event covers a one day registration cost of $45, which includes continental breakfast and hot buffet lunch. Awarded applicants have the choice of which day would they would like to attend. However, if the recipient wishes to attend the second day, they will be responsible for any additional registrations cost.
The 2018 Western PA Annual Grazing Conference includes many speakers and presentations, including Teddy Gentry, bass player for the legendary country music group Alabama. Teddy Gentry will talk about efficiency of cow calf production and how grazing management has benefited his own beef cattle operation. Greg Judy, author of two grazing management books and owner/operator of a beef grazing operation in Clark, Missouri, will also talk about his successes of leasing and owning grazing land. The event brochure, including the agenda and more details can be found on the Venango Conservation District website www.venangocd.org.
In order to be an eligible recipient of this sponsorship, interested persons must be an agricultural producer and reside in Venango County. He or she must also complete a “Sponsorship Eligibility Form” and submit it to the Venango Conservation District by Thursday, March 1, 2018 by mailing to 1793 Cherrytree Road Franklin, PA 16323 (Attn: Becky Deeter) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The “Sponsorship Eligibility Form” will be reviewed by the Venango Conservation District for appropriate eligibility, and available openings will then be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Awarded applicants will be notified by Monday, March 5th.
If you have any questions, need a copy of the “Sponsorship Eligibility Form”, or would like more information regarding the event, please contact Becky at the Venango Conservation District at 814-676-2832, email@example.com or visit www.venangocd.org.
Western PA Annual Grazing Conference Brochure
VCD Sponsorship Eligibility Form
The Clarion and Venango Conservation Districts will be hosting a free Twilight Pond Walk with the Penn State Extension. The workshop will be held at YMCA's Camp Coffman. We will gather at the Fisherman's Cabin Pond located behind the dining hall at Camp Coffman. The program is designed for owners or managers who maintain ponds and lakes.
Penn State's Pond Educator, Bryan Swistock, will discuss life cycles both in and around the pond, starting with an overview of pond basics. His emphasis will be on plant identification, management, and algal control. He will also cover topics of pond structure, fish and wildlife issues, managing plants and algae, and an introduction to harmful algal blooms. Samples of aquatic plants may be brought to the workshop for identification.
The workshop will be outside, so please dress for the weather. Participants may bring a lawn chair if they will need a place to sit during the two hour session.
For more information, contact Tricia McIntire at the Clarion Conservation District at 814-297-7813 or firstname.lastname@example.org
click here for event flier
The Venango Conservation District has teamed up with the Crawford County Conservation District, the Erie County Conservation District and the Mercer County Conservation District to host a Manure Management Field Day event.
Every farm in Pennsylvania that applies manure or agricultural process wastewater is required to have and implement a written Manure Management Plan. You can join us at our field day to learn the facts about manure management and tips that will help you successfully complete a manure management plan for your own operation.
Topics we'll cover at the field day include Manure Management Regulations and the Manual, Biosecurity Practices, Farm Vehicle Transportation Regulations, Manure Spreader Calibration Demonstrations, Ag E&S Regulations, PA One Stop Mapping Introduction and more.
So, join us on Friday April 8 2016 at the Apple Shamrock Dairy Farm in Townville PA from 9am to 3pm. We're asking that you register for the event, but there is no fee and lunch is provided. Please register by April 1st with Shawn at the Mercer County Conservation District 1-724-662-2242.
click here for informational event flier
P.S. Can't make it to the Regional Field Day? The Venango Conservation District will be hosting three Manure Management Workshops at the Nature Lodge on Two Mile Run County Park. The dates are:
Follow-Up Workshop - April 13th - 9am to 12pm
Full Day Workshop - April 14th - 9am to 3pm
Equine Workshop - April 26th - 5:30pm to 8:30pm
click here for informational event flier
The Venango Conservation District, together with the Venango County Regional Planning Commission and the Venango County Penn State Extension will host a public meeting to discuss potential recycling options for agricultural plastics as alternatives to hazardous burning or costly disposal to landfills.
A wide variety of products are "agricultural plastics". They could include such things as white bale wrap, silage bags, bunker and bale covers, row plastics, high tunnels, hoop plastics, plastic twine, netting and seed/grain bags. These products are increasing in use due to their durability, flexibility and low cost. Some experts estimate that 15-20 pounds of agricultural plastics per year are used per dairy cow.
So, the problem becomes, how to dispose of all that plastic. Burning agricultural plastics can release toxic chemicals into the air and residues can contaminate soil and ground water.
Options for recycling agricultural plastics are slowly emerging around the country. The challenge is cleaning, collecting and shipping to recycling facilities. Agricultural plastics have the potential to be recycled into garbage bags or plastic lumber.
We would like to hear from farmers and producers on their interests and needs with regards to disposal of agricultural plastics. The public meeting will be held on Thursday March 31st 2016 at 6:00pm at the Venango County Fair Auditorium. Please join us!
click here for event flier
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.
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