Event Focuses on Helping Farmers Move & Handle Livestock Safely & Humanely
PASA is teaming up with the PA Women’s Agricultural Network and Endless Mountains RC&D to offer a field day aimed to help farmers learn proper and safe animal handling practices. This educational workshop “Animal Handling for New & Beginning Farmers” will be hosted by The Sundance Life Farm in Towanda, PA on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 from 10am – 4pm.The field day will cover basic animal handling for new & beginning farmers - or for anyone who wants to improve their animal handling knowledge and skills. Through a series of demonstrations and discussions, we will emphasize humane practices and safety for both farmer and livestock. Topics to be covered during the day include moving and loading animals, aids for moving animals, multi-species interactions, feeding behaviors, multi-species grazing and pasture management for weeds and noxious plants, and managing parasites. Animals used for the on-farm demonstrations will be cows, sheep, goats, layers, rabbits and possibly the donkey and emu.
Presenters for the day are Brenda Coe and Dave Wolfgang. Ms. Coe, Adjunct Professor in Animal Science at Penn State University, specializes in Animal Behavior and Livestock Handling. She is a Senior Inspector and Scientific Committee Member at Humane Farm Animal Care. Mr. Wolfgang is an Extension Veterinarian at Penn State University. He specializes in disease prevention, herd health promotion and on-farm problem solving.This event is open to the public and includes lunch. To learn more and register for this event and others, visit pasafarming.org/FarmBasedEducation or call (814) 349-9856. PASA strives to ensure all those interested in becoming a member of the organization or attending an event can do so at a reasonable rate. PASA is offering this field day for free when you purchase or renew your PASA membership. To access this offer, register for the field day online and choose the “Membership & A Field Day Combo” offer.
This special offer gains attendees access to a quality educational program, a delicious locally sourced lunch, all of the benefits of membership for one year and access to PASA’s growing network.
Thanks to Scott Mann for creating this podcast that is now available detailing PASA's recent Field Day on April 26, 2013 at Village Acres Farm. This workshop detailed sustainable charcoal production for power & fertility.
Our first Bike Fresh Bike Local ride of the season is coming up Sunday, June 2nd in Allegheny County. Online pre-registration will be available through May 30. The $40 fee goes up to $45 for those who sign up June 2. Proceeds support PASA's work in Western Pennsylvania on behalf of family farms.
Tami Shimp, VP Development & Communications
25 North 11th Street, Reading 19601
610-372-4992 ext. 110
For Immediate Release: Over 169-acres in West Brunswick Township (in Port Clinton) along the important Kittatinny Ridge in Schuylkill County are now permanently protected from development. The Great Bend Organic Farm contains sourcewater, wetlands, woodlands and over a mile of frontage on the Schuylkill River. This important property will remain as open space for future generations to enjoy. The proper management of this property makes significant contributions to water quality and quantity of the Schuylkill River – as more than 60% of the land is woodlands, wetlands, and Schuylkill River frontage. The farm contains great land and water habitat with local breeding species of animals and birds. With its close proximity to the Kittatinny Ridge and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary it also serves as a habitat for migratory species of birds and aquatic life. In addition, it contributes to the preservation of the historic Schuylkill Canal Lock.
The operators of the farm, Sara Runkel and Andy Dohner have high standards for management of the farm and the wetlands. Their combined knowledge and experience enables them to specialize in sustainably grown vegetables, specialty cut flowers, and hay. Starting this year, Great Bend Organic Farm is now growing a wide variety of specialty cut flowers. They are committed to sustainable agriculture and are in the process of applying for organic certification. They supply these locally grown fresh flowers to florists, brides-to-be, and they run a Flower CSA along with a very popular Winter CSA. We encourage you to visit the farm and learn more about their sustainable practices! You can contact Sara and Andy at email@example.com or by phone at 610-780-2579.
The owners of the farm, John Spang and his wife, Tanya Russ, worked with the staff of the Berks Conservancy to develop conservation easement language that will permanently restrict the property from development. The conservation easement also ensures that the property will be managed organically.
This project was completed in partnership with the Schuylkill County Conservancy, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and of course, the landowners and farm operators. “The Berks Conservancy values partnerships like this one to protect important places in and around our local region. We hope this is the first of many organic farms that we see protected in this area of Pennsylvania!” said Kim Murphy, Berks Conservancy President.
On May 27th the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is sponsoring a Paddle for Preservation canoe trip along the Schuylkill River to directly raise funds for projects like this one. For more information visit the events page at www.hawkmountain.org.
Visit the Berks Conservancy’s website at www.berks-conservancy.org to learn about other conservation projects involving your community. We’re Saving a Place for You…
The therapeutic animal, horticultural and agricultural programs are offered through Glade Run Lutheran Services, a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health, education, and social services to the Pennsylvania communities of Beaver Falls, Butler, Pittsburgh and Zelienople, according to Wahlenmayer.
Annual Farm Tour with Anne & Eric Nordell of Beech Grove Farm in Trout Run, PA.
Monday, October 14
10am - 4pm
This tour is intended for growers who have studied the Nordell's Weed to Soil booklet or video. Please send a letter of interest by mid-September to Anne & Eric Nordell, Beech Grove Farm, 3410 Rt. 184, Trout Run PA 17771.
If you are interested in purchasing the Nordell's Weed to Soil booklet ($10, plus $3 s&h) or video/DVD ($15, plus $3 s&h) - please write to the Nordells.
Event Focuses on Healthier Sheep & Goats with Parasite Management Training & FAMACHA Certification MILLHEIM, PA. [May 1, 2013] PASA is teaming up with Dickinson College Farm in Carlisle, PA to offer a Field Day for small ruminant farmers. This educational workshop “Hands-on Small Ruminant Health: FAMACHA & Parasite Management” will be held at the Dickinson College Farm on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 10am – 4pm in Boiling Springs (near Carlisle). Parasite control and management can be a major challenge for sheep and goat producers. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches are most successful by coupling nutrition, pasture and grazing management with selection for parasite resilient genetics. Along with regular animal assessments including FAMACHA testing (a non-invasive method of assessing potential parasite loads), producers can better manage their animals for overall health. This Field Day will combine classroom time with hands on. Participants will gain skills in body condition assessment, certification in the FAMACHA method and experience in microscopic analysis of manure samples for parasite eggs. Discussions will cover the life cycles of worms, action thresholds, treatment options, and long-term management strategies. Farmers are encouraged to bring samples of sheep or goat manure for analysis. Dr. Susan Beal is the Agricultural Science Advisor for PASA. Dr. Beal brings over 25 years experience in holistic veterinary practice, ranging from mixed practice through emergency medicine, equine and companion animal practices. Before joining the team at PASA, Dr. Beal was employed by Big Run Healing Arts, a veterinary practice dedicated to providing holistic care for animals and the environment.
Event Focuses on Healthier Sheep & Goats with Parasite Management Training & FAMACHA Certification
MILLHEIM, PA. [May 1, 2013] PASA is teaming up with Dickinson College Farm in Carlisle, PA to offer a Field Day for small ruminant farmers. This educational workshop “Hands-on Small Ruminant Health: FAMACHA & Parasite Management” will be held at the Dickinson College Farm on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 10am – 4pm in Boiling Springs (near Carlisle).
Parasite control and management can be a major challenge for sheep and goat producers. Integrated pest management (IPM) approaches are most successful by coupling nutrition, pasture and grazing management with selection for parasite resilient genetics. Along with regular animal assessments including FAMACHA testing (a non-invasive method of assessing potential parasite loads), producers can better manage their animals for overall health.
This Field Day will combine classroom time with hands on. Participants will gain skills in body condition assessment, certification in the FAMACHA method and experience in microscopic analysis of manure samples for parasite eggs. Discussions will cover the life cycles of worms, action thresholds, treatment options, and long-term management strategies. Farmers are encouraged to bring samples of sheep or goat manure for analysis.
Dr. Susan Beal is the Agricultural Science Advisor for PASA. Dr. Beal brings over 25 years experience in holistic veterinary practice, ranging from mixed practice through emergency medicine, equine and companion animal practices. Before joining the team at PASA, Dr. Beal was employed by Big Run Healing Arts, a veterinary practice dedicated to providing holistic care for animals and the environment.
While CSP enrollment is continuous, interested farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners must complete the initial application form by May 31 to compete for a spot in the 2013 enrollment class for the program.
Earlier this month, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which helped develop the program and has followed its progress closely, issued an Information Alert on the 2013 sign-up. In addition to providing the timeline for the sign-up and enrollment process, the Alert includes basic sign-up information and describes changes made to the program for this sign-up, including new conservation enhancements being offered. We encourage interested organizations and individuals to post or forward the Information Alert to help get the word out to farmers and ranchers about this pending opportunity.
“This is a great opportunity for producers to enhance and build upon the conservation that they are doing on their land,” said NSAC Policy Associate, Greg Fogel. “However, we are operating under an extremely tight deadline, so farmers and ranchers must act quickly to complete their initial application form.”
This year’s enrollment was delayed for six months while Congress negotiated and passed a final “continuing resolution” to fund government programs through the end of this fiscal year. The delay means that this year’s cut-off date for applications is much later than usual. It also means that the agency will have to move very quickly through the enrollment process in order to finish on time.
CSP is an innovative working lands conservation program that rewards farmers and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. CSP is administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis. CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Assistance is geared to both the active management of existing conservation systems and to the implementation of new conservation activities on land in agricultural production.
In addition to information available in the newly released Information Alert, producers will find more detailed information about CSP in NSAC’s Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program, available for free download at http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/. The Guide provides clear information on conservation activities eligible for CSP payments to improve conservation performance and environmental benefits. It also includes step-by-step enrollment guidance, key definitions, and helpful hints.
With food safety work on a bit of a hiatus right now - the 120-day extension for public comment on Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules confirmed - I have a chance to think and write about the situation we are facing within agriculture more broadly. A recent trip to Washington DC also pushed me in this particularly pensive direction.
On May 10 and 11, 2013 there is an unprecedented opportunity for Pennsylvania’s woodland owners to participate in an entertaining and enlightening conference on forest land use, conservation, and best management practices for woodlots of all sizes. The Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners are hosting the 2013 Private Landowner Conference at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA.
The conference costs $75 for the day and a half event. The fee covers two breaks on Friday, two breaks and lunch on Saturday, a Saturday morning keynote address with Curt Meine, Aldo Leopold Biographer, and access to information and resources from respected presenters from across the region. Optional events (at additional cost) include Friday morning field tours and a Friday evening keynote banquet with Doug Tallamy, Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, and author of “Bringing Nature Home.” Conference exhibitors include educational, resource, and service-providers with tools and information to help you undertake good practices on your woodland.
To register, click here or call 1-800-235-9473. Deadline is April 30th.
For general conference questions, contact Allyson Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, 814-865-3208.
PASA is pleased to announce Trickling Springs Creamery has become Food Alliance Certified. Farms and processors awarded with this esteemed certification have proof that their operations are on the cutting edge of socially and environmentally responsible farming & food handling practices. Food Alliance is a comprehensive third-party certification for sustainability in agricultural and food systems. Such third-party certification creates more traceability, transparency and accountability to give consumers greater confidence in what they are buying. Trickling Springs is the first handling facility in the Mid-Atlantic to achieve Food Alliance certification.
Trickling Springs Creamery, located in Franklin County, opened in June of 2001 to provide fresh, grass-fed milk and other dairy products to consumers in communities local to Chambersburg. Today Trickling Springs supplies milk to quality-focused families and individuals in communities from southern Connecticut to Florida, focusing primarily on Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.
Food Alliance certification standards for farm and facility operations address a range of social and environmental issues including safe and fair working conditions; reduction of pesticide use and toxicity; soil, water and energy conservation; reduction of waste and protection of wildlife habitat. Food Alliance sets a high bar that recognizes innovation and continual improvement in social and environmental management practices.
Trickling Springs buys its milk from local, family farms that take the very best care of their animals and land. These farmers take pride in their product and a special interest in the welfare of the grass-fed cows on their family farms by using organic and holistic practices. Trickling Springs maintains a personal relationship with their farmers and offers their products under two brands, Trickling Springs Organic and a natural line called FarmFriend. Trickling Springs is known for their grass-fed milk in glass bottles, but they also offer a full line of other dairy products including flavored milks, cultured buttermilk, low-fat yogurt smoothies, high butterfat butters, raw milk cheeses and more than 25 flavors of super premium ice cream.
Trickling Springs Sales & Marketing Manager Joe Miller says, “We are proud of the work that went into our farmers’ efforts to obtain this certification. Food Alliance has aided us in taking the next step in being totally transparent to our consumers. The standards established have also helped us take a harder look at some of our practices and look for ways to improve in the coming years as we continue to grow.”
“Trickling Springs is one of the premiere dairy product companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, and we are delighted to have them take this important step to assure quality and consistency throughout their operations,” said PASA’s Executive Director Brian Snyder. “They really understand the necessity of giving today’s consumers more information about how these products are not only good for their families, but also for the farmers who grow the food and the natural environment they share.”
Pennsylvania’s Buy Fresh Buy Local® Network Announces Statewide Standards Network Now Includes 14 PA Chapters
The Pennsylvania Buy Fresh Buy Local® (BFBL) network is pleased to share its statewide standards for BFBL Partners. Statewide standards were developed to enable and encourage chapters to enforce that BFBL Partners - primarily farms, markets, retail stores and restaurants - across the state are meeting the same requirements. Implementation of these standards across all 14 PA chapters will bring an increased level of consistency and integrity to the PA BFBL network. Individual chapters will be encouraged to develop more stringent standards for the Partners in their respective regions.
The Pennsylvania BFBL network also recently welcomed its newest chapter, Buy Fresh Buy Local® Bucks County. The Bucks County chapter will be coordinated by the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance (BCFA). Established in 2006, the BCFA is a leader in Southeastern PA in its work to strengthen its farming economy and improve the availability of local, healthy, sustainably grown food. It does this by connecting farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in education, government, healthcare and business. Through this new BFBL chapter, the BCFA will continue to educate consumers about local food: the true cost of producing it, what the advantages are in regard to nutrition and flavor and what overarching benefits we all stand to lose if we do not support local farms and producers.
As an extension of BCFA, the BFBL chapter will enable the organization to further support its mission to foster and expand a local, sustainable food supply in Bucks County and to connect producers and consumers, with added benefits of education for producers and awareness to consumers. The BFBL toolkit available to the chapter will enhance the BCFA’s efforts to maximize available food product distribution channels and to facilitate and encourage the development of new ones – serving both producers and consumers.
The PA BFBL Network is coordinated by PASA on behalf of our national partner and subsidiary, FoodRoutes Network LLC. BFBL Chapters in PA are managed by a diverse coalition of partnering organizations and agencies, supported by a growing community of local volunteers. For more information, visit buylocalpa.org.
PASA is excited to participate in Centre Gives 2013. This online fundraising event held on May 22 and 23 provides matching funds of up to $100,000 from the Centre Foundation to over 80 Centre County charitable organizations. PASA members from anywhere can participate to boost your giving power.
Mark your calendars! Go to www.centregives.org from May 22 at 6:00 am to May 23 at 6:00 pm to take advantage of this 36-hour giving event. You can make your PASA donation count for more and help PASA reach the top of the Centre Gives leader board! Your donation could also help PASA qualify for cash prizes.
PennEnvironment's Moratorium Campaign
Consider supporting a moratorium on further shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania until it is proven safe for our environment and the public's health. Support for a moratorium is consistent with PASA’s Board of Directors policy statement developed in 2012.
PennEnvironment is working towards a goal of 100,000 signatures, with a deadline of April 30th.
Learn more here: http:/bit.ly/PAMoratorium.
In 2012, PASA's Board of Directors developed a policy statement on Marcellus Shale/unconventional gas drilling in Pennsylvania, which takes into consideration comments from our members and feedback heard at our Annual Meeting in March 2012 and via other channels. You can read the full statement here.
Further Exposing the “Smoking Gun” of the Food Safety Modernization Act
The past week brought news that the comment period for proposed rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has been extended another 120 days beyond the original May 16 deadline. Oddly, the word on that is not yet official, though was confirmed by [...]
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Hamburg announced that the comment period on the proposed rules stemming from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will be extended by 120 days. The comment period was originally scheduled to close on May 16th and will now close in September.
PASA's next two meetings regarding this topic, how to learn more and submit effective comments are coming up:
Monday, April 22 - Harrisburg, PA (Dauphin Co)
Thursday, May 2 - Valencia, PA (Butler Co)
Additional Information Contact:
John Noel Bartlett
Foundation for Sustainable Forests
Meadville – Renowned author Wendell Berry returns to Allegheny College on Friday, May 17 to open the second annual Loving the Land Through Working Forests Conference.
The Loving the Land speakers’ program featuring Berry begins at 7 p.m. in Ford Chapel, North Main Street Meadville near the center of the Allegheny College campus
Sometimes described as a modern-day Thoreau; Berry has authored more than 40 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry and is a recipient of the National Humanities Award, the Poet’s Award and was the 2012 Jefferson Lecturer. He is an advocate for sustainability and an activist for the environment, which he lives in his lifestyle. His lectures are described as thought-provoking, personal and honest.
The Loving the Land Through Working Forests Conference continues on Saturday, May 18 with in-the-field sessions at a site located north of Titusville off Route 8. Saturday’s sessions cover a variety of topics sure to interest anyone interested in the health of our forested ecosystems, as well as forest landowners and land management professionals.
Saturday’s presenters include: Wendell Berry;, Mike DeBonis, executive director of the Forest Guild; Jason Rutledge, director of the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation; Troy Firth, president of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests; Cecile Stelter, District Forester, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forests; Suzanne Boyden, Ph.D., assistant professor of ecology, Clarion University of Pennsylvania; Jim Finley, Ibberson Chair in Forest Resource Management, Penn State University; Sarah Sargent, Pennsylvania Audubon, J. Michael Campbell, Ph.D., Mercyhurst University, Rich Bowden, Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, Allegheny College, and several others.
The conference is jointly presented by the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, a land trust and sustainable forestry education and advocacy nonprofit, and the Forest Guild, a professional organization of forest stewards, associated natural resource professionals, and affiliates.
Conference events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested for the Saturday in-the-field sessions.
Conference details and registration information can be found at the Foundation’s Web page (www.FoundationForSustainableForests.org) under the Events/Links page tab or by emailing Info@FoundationForSustainableForests.org.
A map showing the location of Ford Chapel and nearby parking is available on the Allegheny College Web page www.Allegheny.edu by clicking on the Visitor’s Center page link and looking on the right-hand column of offerings.
PASA is seeking an individual or firm to create and implement a comprehensive communications program for the organization.
Access the full Request for Proposals here - the deadline is May 10.
Thanks to edible Allegheny magazine for their help in publishing the 2013 CSA Guide for Western PA! Take a look here.
Subtitle: Antibiotics and Pesticides and GMOs, Oh My! …or, It’s the System, Stupid!
In working on issues related to food safety over the past four years, I have often been struck by how the language of regulators and consumer advocates sounds frighteningly similar to that used by defense and homeland security officials to talk about [...]