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 email@example.com. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
click here for event flier
Pennsylvania DCNR says that at the beginning of the 21st century, about 1,300 species of nonnative plants existed in Pennsylvania outside of gardens, parks and agricultural lands. That means that 37 percent of Pennsylvania’s total wild plant flora consists of nonnatives. DCNR says that more nonnative plants are introduced every year. A nonnative plant is one which was brought into the state and eventually became established in the wild.
Pennsylvania’s native plants number 2,100 in the wild. They include ferns, mosses, grasses, sedges and rushes, wildflowers, woody trees, shrubs and vines. Native plants are those plants growing in Pennsylvania before European settlers arrived. Native plants evolved in Pennsylvania and are therefore well adapted to the area soils and climate. That means they are easy to care for once established. Many natives require little to no additional fertilizer and extra watering. Landscaping with native plants means you can use less fertilizer and less water to keep them looking happy and healthy in your garden. If everyone were to utilize native plants in their gardens, there would be less chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides washing away to local waterways, which means a reduction in water pollution.
According to the Penn State Cooperative Extension, another big reason to landscape with native plants is biodiversity. 90 percent of our native insects feed on only three or even fewer families of plants. Our native insects rely heavily on native plants. If our native insects cannot feed on growing nonnative plant populations, then by extension, native birds would have fewer insects to feed on. Penn State Extension says that what we plant in our yards today will determine what kind of wildlife will be living in Pennsylvania.
By planting native species we can help Pennsylvania’s natural history and diversity sustain. Pollinating insects keep our fruit, vegetable and seed crops going. Bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, birds and even bats rely on pollen and nectar. Food from native plants will keep our native ecosystem going.
The Venango Conservation District is pleased to announce that a grant from the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts has been received. Funding is provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The district will be working to educate home/land owners and the general public on how to landscape with native plants rather than exotic plants. A workshop will be held later in the summer. Three outdoor brochure holders have already been installed throughout Two Mile Run County Park. These brochure holders contain a hand-out sheet highlighting the native plants in bloom each month on the Park. Informational signs demonstrating how native plants reduce nonpoint source pollution in the watershed are also installed on the Park.
Want to learn more about using native plants in your landscaping? There are many great websites to use for research. The Pennsylvania DCNR webpage on Landscaping with Native Plants is www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/plants/nativeplants. The Penn State Cooperative Extension webpage on Pennsylvania Native Plants for the Perennial Garden is located at http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fact-sheets/perennial-garden/pa-native-plants-for-the-perennial-garden/pdf factsheet.
The Pennsylvania State Senate and the House of Representatives declared April 23-30, 2017 as “Conservation District Week.” The dates coincide with Earth Day (April 22nd) events and celebrations.
Each county has a conservation district office except Philadelphia. These offices have volunteer directors and staff who focus on local conservation issues. These are your neighbors who are working to ensure there is enough clean water. They also make sure we have healthy soil for the future. That is something to celebrate!
The Venango Conservation District is happy to announce that we will be offering the sponsorship of five Venango County agricultural producers to attend the upcoming Western PA Regional Soil Health Workshop, located at The Atrium in Prospect, PA, on March 17th, 2017 from 9:00am to 3:30pm. Sponsorship of this event covers the registration cost of $10.00 which includes morning refreshments, lunch and materials.
In order to be an eligible recipient of this sponsorship, interested person must reside in and be and agricultural producer of Venango County. He or she must also complete a Sponsorship Eligibility Form and submit it to the Venango Conservation District by March 3rd by mailing to 1793 Cherrytree Road, Franklin PA 16323 (Attn: Becky Deeter) or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Sponsorship Eligibility Form will first be reviewed by the Venango Conservation District for appropriate eligibility, and available openings will then be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If you have any questions please contact the Venango Conservation District office at 814-676-2832 or by emailing email@example.com.
click here for Sponsorship Eligibility Form
click here for Western PA Regional Soil Health Workshop brochure
The Venango Conservation District is very pleased to announce that two new staff members have been added. Hilary Buchanan has been hired as the district's Dirt Gravel and Low Volume Roads Technician, and Tim Hummel has been hired as the district's Watershed Specialist. Each began their new positions on May 2nd.
Hilary has earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Geoscience and has work experience with wetland delineation, NPDES permits and Chapter 105 General and Joint Permits. She also has work experience in water sampling, and ArcGIS work.
Hilary has been off and running since her first day. She has attended new staff training for the Dirt & Gravel Roads program. She has been on project locations most every day in May. She even helped out with elementary education programs.
Tim has earned a Master's degree in Biology. Tim has work experience as a Watershed Project Manager and experience as a field technician. Tim has been busy around the County meeting with local watershed associations and contributing to elementary education programs.
We are so impressed with the work our new staff has progressed with just in the month of May. We are looking forward to the great work these new staff members will bring to our office and to Venango County.
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
The Venango Conservation District and cooperating agencies held another Integrated Water Resource Municipal Permitting Workshop. That’s a mouthful, but the goal of the workshop was to educate the regulated community and municipalities about all the necessary permitting that needs to be in place before a building permit should be issued. Land owners, contractors, consultants and municipalities all ask us to provide better information on what they should have in place before a building permit is issued. We have worked together with the Venango County Regional Planning Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Sewage Enforcement Officer and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to provide several municipal permitting workshops in an effort to meet that need.
This most recent workshop took place on Friday February 12th at the PennDOT building in Oil City PA. Twenty-six participants were in attendance. They heard presentations on the following:
Subdivision and Land Development – Jason Ruggiero, VCRPC
Highway Occupancy Permits – PennDOT
Sewage Planning – Nick Melnick, Sewage Enforcement Officer
Erosion & Sediment Control and NPDES Permitting – Mike Swatzler, VCD
Stormwater Act 167 – Lance Bowes, VCD
Waterways Obstruction/Encroachment Permitting – Mike Swatzler, VCD
Act 166 Floodplain – Phil Gryskewicz, VCRPC
Building Code Enforcement – Becky Hosack, Girard Township
The feedback to our workshop was very positive, with participants requesting more events in the future. We thank the Northwest Commission for providing funding to the district to provide these educational workshops. We look forward to providing more workshops in the near future.
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.