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The PASA family is saddened to announce the passing of long-time member, Wendy Rickard. Her friend & colleague, Rita Calvert, wanted to share this tribute

The PASA family is saddened to announce the passing of long-time member, Wendy Rickard. Her friend & colleague, Rita Calvert, wanted to share this tribute

Posted by at Aug 15, 2012 02:10 PM |

The Gifts that Wendy Gave

Wendy Rickard Yampolsky, 54, passed away Monday evening, August 13, 2012 after a heroic battle with cancer. Wendy was passionate about sustainable agriculture which was evident in the the publishing company she founded, Eating Fresh Publications. Fresh From the Mid-Atlantic, The Grassfed Gourmet, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up!, and the charming pamphlet-The Great News About Grass, were her major releases.

As this is written on Julia Child's birthday with "giving" as the headline, it brings to mind all the gifts Wendy gave to sustainable agriculture and to those around her. In her publishing business, Wendy always said the farmers were her best customers and she actually continued to publish books to help our sustainable farmers educate their customers. She told me that if a customer bought a side of beef from a farmer, one of the cookbooks was a perfect thank you gift. Wendy also served on the FoodRoutes Network board for years.

As Eating Fresh was a niche venture for Wendy, her main career was working with Internet Society Members and Chapters across the globe. Wendy initiated the OnTheInternet magazine (OTI) in 1996. OTI was published first in print and then online until 2001 and was one of the first periodicals that covered the broad range of technical, policy, and development topics relating to the Internet. She was the initial and long-time editor of the Internet Society Annual Report and contributed to many other Internet Society publications. She also served until very recently as the Associate Editor of the IETF Journal.

Beyond her sustainable farming and Internet-related accomplishments, Wendy is remembered for her incredible passion and the seemingly endless creative and positive energy she brought to everything she did.

Contributions in her memory may be made to PASA and mailed to Box 419, Millheim, PA 16854 or you can donate here.

Last week to take advantage of Dine Fresh, Dine Local for PASA

Posted by at Aug 14, 2012 05:14 PM |

Harrison's Wine Grill & Catering is a quintessential Buy Fresh Buy Local® (BFBL) Partner and long-time PASA supporter. This August, you can help support local agriculture by taking part in an event that has already raised over $1,000 for PASA in years past.

Harrison's will donate 20% of each participating guest's check (before tax and gratuity) to PASA between Monday, August 6th and Sunday, August 19th. Simply download, print & bring a copy of the flyer above (click on the image for full file) or mention intended support of PASA or BFBL to your server when you pay your check. There is no limit to the number of times you can dine in or carry out in support of PASA (excludes catering).


Do you want to eat apples that have been genetically modified to resist browning?

Do you want to eat apples that have been genetically modified to resist browning?

Posted by at Aug 10, 2012 06:55 AM |

The USDA is accepting comments on the deregulation of this genetically modified apple through September 11, 2012.

Voice your opinion here

Learn more about the proposal here.

Researchers discover the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug's winter hideout

Researchers discover the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug's winter hideout

Posted by at Aug 10, 2012 05:49 AM |

Researchers believe they have identified where brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) gathers in natural landscapes during winter, and their findings could help farmers manage this invasive insect. Doo-Hyung Lee, a postdoctoral research associate with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, wants to understand precisely what the risks are to growers from BMSB overwintering in natural landscapes. Lee works with a team of scientists led by Tracy Leskey at the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia.

“We know BMSB aggregate inside human-made structures in very high numbers,” Lee explains. “However, in the natural landscape, BMSB are spread out. They can be anywhere. They can remain unchecked by any management strategies, spreading randomly and building their population.”

Read the full article online...

IPM travel grants available via the Northeast IPM Working Group

Posted by at Aug 10, 2012 05:05 AM |

Would you like to learn more about integrated pest management (IPM) for vegetables or strawberries, but don't have funds for travel? Is there a meeting or conference with a focus on IPM that you would like to attend? Do you have a commitment to sharing what you learn with growers?

The Northeast Vegetable IPM Working Group, funded by the Northeastern IPM Center, offers an IPM Travel Grant that will pay up to $800 for qualified expenses to help agricultural professionals in the Northeast learn about and share integrated pest management practices in vegetables and strawberries. You may apply to travel to any educational program related to IPM that is outside your state—either within the Northeast or outside the region. You may also apply to make a special visit to another lab, research station, or region in order to learn about a special project or new working IPM that you want to bring back to growers in your area.

Learn more.

PASA Member Rodale Institute gearing up for their Organic Pioneer Awards ceremony

Posted by at Aug 10, 2012 04:35 AM |

The Organic Pioneer Awards ceremony will be held Saturday, September 14 at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA (Berks County.

The event will begin at 6:00 with organic hors d'oeuvres and cocktails in the organic gardens. Guests are invited to enjoy a wagon-ride tour of our farm–complete with champagne–on their way to the landmark site of the Farming Systems Trial, where we will honor our first  award winner. A seasonal, organic feast will follow. Attire is "Farm Smart" meaning comfortable cocktail attire. Flat shoes are advised.

Honorees are selected based on their pioneering efforts in various aspects of the organic movement, but they have all made the connection between healthy soil, healthy plants and healthy people. We are pleased to announce our honorees:

Kim Tait (PASA Member) is a third-generation farmer and is owner and operator of Tait Farm in central Pennsylvania, a certified organic farm that operates 10 acres of vegetable, fruit and greenhouse production and a specialty foods line of 55 value-added products created in their on-farm processing facility. Kim has played an active role in supporting the organic movement and, in 2011, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on the role specialty crops and organics play in agriculture, and the opportunities posed for those industries in the next Farm Bill.

Carla Castagnero (PASA Member) is co-founder and President of AgRecycle, Inc., a composting operation headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1991, AgRecycle is one of the oldest composting companies in the United States.  As the first company to be issued a Pennsylvania General Permit for composting, AgRecycle boasts the largest source-separated composting enterprise within Pennsylvania and has clients such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Zoo

John Teasdale has been a USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist stationed at Beltsville, MD, for 34 years. He was the founding Research Leader of the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab which addresses the complex, systems-level research needed to define sustainable agricultural methods. He has conducted long-term systems research demonstrating that a reduced-tillage organic cropping system could improve soil productivity more than a conventional no-tillage system, and has documented the importance of longer, more phenologically diverse rotations.

Go here for registration details.

Ohio first to participate in USDA's cooperative interstate shipment program

Posted by at Aug 09, 2012 12:04 PM |

Ohio is the first state where state-inspected processors (who sign up for the program) can ship over state lines.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces New Opportunities for Small Meat and Poultry Processors

Ohio First to Participate in USDA's Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced today that Ohio will be the first state to participate in USDA's Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program. Under this program, Ohio's small, state-inspected meat processors will be able to ship their products across state lines. The cooperative interstate shipment program will expand economic opportunities for America's small meat and poultry processors, strengthen state and local economies, and increase consumer access to safe, locally-produced food.

"This agreement allows a small processor in Ohio to sell products to neighbors in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and beyond," said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. "Expanding market opportunities for meat from local processors makes these small businesses more viable, while also ensuring that participating establishments have robust food safety systems in place to produce safe food for consumers."

Under the cooperative agreement, small, state-inspected businesses with 25 or fewer employees will be allowed to sell meat products across state lines. Meat products produced in selected establishments will be subject to the same regulatory sampling programs as those established in the Federal inspection program.

The Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program was established by the 2008 Farm Bill. In 2011, USDA finalized regulations to allow state employees to administer federal regulations and use federal marks of inspection at selected establishments. Prior to the establishment of this program, state-inspected businesses could only sell products within their state.

State-inspected establishments interested in shipping interstate should contact their state's meat inspection program. In addition, USDA will shortly publish a directive detailing how states and small businesses can join the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program. The USDA's Small Plant Help Desk is also available to help small meat businesses understand regulatory requirements. The Help Desk can be reached between 8am and 4pm EST, Monday through Friday, at 1-877-FSISHelp.

Today's announcement is reflective of USDA's ongoing focus on strengthening the critical connection between farmers and consumers and supporting local and regional food systems. USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, launched in September 2009, coordinates USDA resources and expertise on local and regional food systems. Through this initiative, USDA integrates programs and policies that:

•             Stimulate food- and agriculturally-based community economic development;
•             Foster new opportunities for farmers and ranchers;
•             Promote locally and regionally produced and processed foods;
•             Cultivate healthy eating habits and educated, empowered consumers;
•             Expand access to affordable fresh and local food; and
•             Demonstrate the connection between food, agriculture, community and the environment.

For more information, visit the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food website at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

Lauren Gwin, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Agricultural & Resource Economics
Oregon State University
213 Ballard Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network

(541) 737 1569 (o)
(541) 760 0529 (cell)

PASA Member Delaware Valley College set to open sustainable ag center this fall.

Posted by at Jul 25, 2012 09:40 AM |

PASA Member, Delaware Valley College is opening a 140-acre center for sustainable agriculture in North Wales, Pa., this fall to prepare its students to serve as leaders in sustainable agriculture and provide a hub for community education, and partnerships.

At the core of The Roth Center for Sustainable Agriculture is a new specialization in Sustainable Agriculture Systems, which will prepare students for careers in sustainable agriculture.

The specialization offers students the unique opportunity to learn about both plant and animal agriculture through classroom, lab, and farm experiences. Students from all majors will have the option of completing a minor in sustainable agriculture.

“DelVal students will be prepared to lead the conversations around sustainable agriculture in an informed way,” said Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Russell Redding. “Food and natural resource demands are growing, and we’ll have to do more with less water, land, and energy. Sustainable agriculture principles are important today and critical to our future.”

“There’s growing student and public interest around sustainable agriculture,” said Redding. “Students can now come to DelVal and look at organic, sustainable, and conventional practices, learn about the science, and gain the hands-on experience.”

The Center and the new specialization are part of the College’s commitment to educating students about the full spectrum of agriculture production options.

Through the Center, students and faculty will now have an area committed to sustainable agriculture where they can experiment with different production and management techniques to see sustainable principles in action.

Read more here.

On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guide

On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guide

Posted by at Jul 24, 2012 11:58 AM |

This recently released guide is specific to New York state, but there is lots of useful information no matter your location.

The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to announce a new " On-Farm Poultry Slaughter Guide". Designed to complement a hands-on training in how to properly kill and prepare a poultry carcass for sale, this guide focuses on the critical points for producing a product that is safe to eat.

This 28-page guide contains sections on the 1,000-bird limit exemption, where you can legally sell your birds under this exemption, labeling requirements, sanitary operating procedures and more. It includes several appendices, such as a sample flock record log and a questionnaire that your insurance company may use to assess your knowledge of safe poultry processing practices.

The Guide is available either by viewing online at the Northeast Beginning Farmers Project Website.

For more small farm news and information, visit

Recent rabies reports - reported cases are increasing

Posted by at Jul 17, 2012 11:20 AM |

There has been a spate of positive rabies cases reported in PA over the past few months, particularly in the northwestern regions of the state. Most of these cases are from the raccoon strain of rabies – even though we are seeing the disease in other species (cats, groundhogs and even cattle, for example). 

Karen Martin, the PDA field veterinarian from Region I (Meadville), says, “Properly vaccinated (and regularly boostered dogs) are often the best way to find rabid raccoons. In both cases where we have had multiple rabid cattle on the same property in our region of the state, the people did not have a dog.”

She goes on to say, “Curious animals will explore odd things, especially with their noses – and that’s how many animals such as deer, cattle and horses are exposed to rabies.”

Dr. Martin also reminds folks that children should be taught to leave wildlife alone, all bite wounds should be thoroughly cleaned with copious soap and running water immediately (and reported to the health department) – and any and all bats found in bedrooms need to be tested for rabies. Testing for rabies is provided at no charge.

Farmers may want to consider contacting their primary care veterinarians to discuss whether rabies vaccination for their stock is appropriate, given the risks in their local areas.

For more information about rabies in Pennsylvania, including maps and historical data, take a look at the PA Dept of Agriculture website.

View map of reported cases as of June 30.

USDA Launches Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass

Posted by at Jul 16, 2012 10:05 AM |

On July 17, USDA is proudly unveiling the 2.0 version of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, a digital resource detailing USDA’s involvement in local and regional food.  The Compass highlights USDA’s wide-ranging investments in local food development; showcases inspiring local food success stories from around the country; and features an interactive map. The 2.0 Version of the map has over 15,000 data points, including USDA-funded local food projects in all 50 states, farmers markets, food hubs, wholesale markets, meat processing facilities, and other critical information about local food’s imprint from coast to coast. 

In honor of the 2.0 Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, you are invited to participate in an exciting launch event.  On Tuesday, July 17 at 3 pm ET, the USDA and the White House will host a Google+ Hangout with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, White House Director of Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson and six women leaders – producers, small business owners, and others – to explore local foods through the voices of women.  This virtual event can be viewed on or on the White House Google+ Home page live at 3pm ET.  Watch the event and participate by sending twitter questions via #KYF2 or #WHHangout or on the White House Google+ page. 

On Tuesday, July 24 at 1:30 ET, you’re invited to join USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan for a follow-up Twitter chat about local and regional food.   You can ask her questions directly using #KYF2 or #ASKUSDA.

Volunteers needed for PASA info booth at Ag Progress Days - August 14-16

Posted by at Jul 14, 2012 10:40 AM |

PASA will once again be hosting an information booth at Penn State's annual Ag Progress Days , Tuesday, August 14 - Thursday, August 16. This event is sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, and is being held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College, PA.

Full details about vendors, tours, etc is available here.

PASA is looking for a few member volunteers to help us cover our booth by helping to distribute materials, answer questions about our organization, etc. For those of you who have attend Ag Progress in the past, or that have helped at at the booth in the past, should note that the organizations that have been historically grouped under the Crops, Soils, Conservation tent - will now have a new building to call home, the J.D. Harrington Building at the East end of 5th St.

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit this page of this website (scroll down to the Ag Progress Opportunity) to see a list of available days & shifts.

You can also contact Michele Gauger, 814-349-9856 x17 directly with details - thanks for your attention!

Farm Aid - Special Offer for PASA Members

Farm Aid - Special Offer for PASA Members

Posted by at Jul 13, 2012 12:50 PM |

An exclusive ticket offer to current PASA members!

All of us at PASA are so excited that the annual Farm Aid Concert is coming back to Pennsylvania for the first time in 10 years!  Well, okay they were in New Jersey, just outside Philly 6 years ago, but you get the point.  This year’s concert will take place Saturday, September 22 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA. 

Tickets have already gone on sale to the general public, however PASA has been afforded the opportunity to buy a limited block of tickets if there is interest amongst our membership to attend and sit together as a group.  You also would save $10/ticket by coming as part of the PASA team (wearing some of those old PASA conference t-shirts highly recommended!). We have potential for seat blocks in sections at the $57.75, $41.75 and $27.75 ticket levels.  As you might expect, the distance from the stage would be inversely proportional to the ticket price.

These tickets are being offered to current PASA members (immediate family only please!) on a first-come, first-served basis, with the stipulation that payment must be made in full and in advance by check. Availability of tickets will be cut off at some yet-to-be determined number, so getting your name in early is a real plus. 

If you would like to reserve tickets with PASA - please complete this online form or call Michele Gauger at 814-349-9856 x17. We are asking that folks let us know by Monday, July 23, so we can hold the appropriate number of seats. After that time, you will of course be free to buy tickets in the usual manner through the procedures identified on the Farm Aid site (assuming there are open seats remaining).

It was great fun for many PASA members to sit together at both the Pittsburgh and Philly concerts in the past, and I’m sure this year will be just as rewarding.

P.S. Also consider becoming a Farm Aid Volunteer
Farm Aid is also looking for volunteers! Farm Aid Staff have always been big fans of the annual PASA conference. Now it's your turn to check out their annual event in your own backyard and even get in on the action. Volunteers are used throughout concert weekend and play a huge role in Farm Aid's annual event- even the musicians volunteer their time! A limited number of volunteer positions still exist for this year's show. Volunteers receive great perks in exchange for their time including a T-shirt, a meal, and parking. Saturday volunteers will gain admission to the volunteer section and be able to watch the show before and after their volunteer shift. Please email Anna Miragliuolo at for additional information and write "New Volunteer" in the subject line.

Mother Earth News Fair - special $10 full weekend pass offer

Mother Earth News Fair - special $10 full weekend pass offer

Posted by at Jul 13, 2012 04:59 AM |

PASA will once again be participating in the Mother Earth News Fair coming up on September 21-23, 2012 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, PA (Somerset County).

This year PASA is again hosting a presentation stage, where many of our knowledgeable PASA members will be offering presentations on a myriad of topics. And new this year, we will be hosting a Farmer Olympics competition. We are looking for farmer & non-farmer teams to compete, so consider signing forming a team & sign up today!

Beginning Saturday, July 14 - Monday, July 16 you can get a full weekend pass for only $10! A limited supply of these discounted tickets are available to be sure to place your order soon.

The $10 Full Weekend Pass Includes:

  • Access to more than 150 hands-on workshops
  • Motivational keynote speakers (ex: Temple Grandin & Joel Salatin)
  • 25% off coupon at the Fair bookstore
  • Free bumper sticker
  • Free parking
  • Kids 17 and younger get in free
  • Plus, you'll find local food and a vast eco-friendly marketplace

Order your $10 weekend pass now and we will see you at the Fair!

PASA South Central Regional Advisory Committee Mtg Planned - Volunteer Today

PASA South Central Regional Advisory Committee Mtg Planned - Volunteer Today

Posted by at Jul 11, 2012 04:50 AM |

We are getting PASA's South Central Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) back up and working!

Learn more about PASA's membership regions & the goals of Regional Advisory Committees - here

If you have interest in helping on our regional advisory committee please attend this meeting and potluck! 

Our goal is to plan 3 educational and 3 social events for our region in the next 7 months. 

The organizational planning meeting is Tuesday, July 17 from 7-9 pm, held in the packing house at:
Oylers Organic Farm
400 Pleasant Valley Road
Biglerville, PA  17307

This is a potluck meeting so please bring a dish to share and your place setting.   If you are unable to attend but still want to help please let us know!

To RSVP or learn more about this Committee, contact:

Melanie Dietrich Cochran, PASA Board Member, 717-440-4650

Sara Oyler Baldwin, PASA Board Member, 717-677-4448

What Are Regional Advisory Committees?
PASA's strength as an organization benefits tremendously from having member-based Regional Advisory Committees (RAC) actively engaged in our membership regions. As our membership grows, the role of the RAC takes on even greater importance, providing a critical link between PASA's governing Board of Directors, staff, our diverse membership, and the potential audience for new members.

We hope members will embrace the opportunity to get involved on these regionally based committees. Your initiative and insights add greatly to PASA's presence and ultimately to our success in "farming for the future."

Back to Basics Learning Series offered in our Western Region

Back to Basics Learning Series offered in our Western Region

Posted by at Jul 05, 2012 02:11 PM |

Over the course of the 2012 season, our Western Region will be offering a series of Master Classes, Field Days, farm tours and potlucks to bring people together around topics related to the foundations of sustainable farming operations.

These are promised to be great learning and networking opportunities for aspiring and beginning farmers, and even experienced farmers looking for some new ideas! Farm interns and apprentices are especially welcome at all the events!

Upcoming Back to Basics Events:

Master Class: Harvesting & Packing Systems
Thursday, July 12
Harvest Valley Farms
Valencia, Allegheny County

Master Class: Small-Scale Production: Equipment and Tools
Monday, July 23
Edible Earth Farm
Tionesta, Forest County

Master Class: Direct Marketing Strategies & Summer Potluck (attend just one or both)
Friday, August 10
Master Class: 3:30-5:30pm
Silver Wheel Farm
Harrisville, Butler County
Networking Potluck: 6:00-8:30pm
Rock Falls Park
Slippery Rock, Butler County

Field Day: Cover Crops & Compost: Balancing Nutrients for Optimum Soil & Crop Health
Wednesday, September 5
Weatherbury Farm
Avella, Washington County

Pre-registration is encouraged for all events, click on the event name to learn more & register today!

Seasonal Farming for the Future Conference employment positions are now available

Posted by at Jul 05, 2012 06:11 AM |

Have you always wanted to work for PASA? Now may be your opportunity, as we are currently looking for three, seasonal employees to help with planning our annual Farming for the Future Conference.

These hourly positions are for approximately September 2012 - March 2013 (some availability before or after this time frame is preferred). We are currently looking for a Registrant Assistant, Program Assistant & Development Assistant.

Applications must be submitted by August 28, 2012 - more details are available here.

Centre Gives online day of giving a success for PASA - THANK YOU - to all who donated!

Centre Gives online day of giving a success for PASA - THANK YOU - to all who donated!

Posted by at Jun 29, 2012 05:47 AM |

What an event!

We would like to give a special thank you to all our supporters who participated in Centre Gives, the 36-hour online day of giving opportunity. We are touched by the generosity of so many! With 66 donors, PASA was tenth out of 74 organizations in the number of donors, putting us on the map in the region! We raised $4,915 throughout the two days and we will receive an additional matched gift from the Centre Community Foundation in the coming days. We cannot thank everyone enough for your gifts of support!

Vote for your local farmers market! American Farmland Trust has launched their annual contest

Vote for your local farmers market! American Farmland Trust has launched their annual contest

Posted by at Jun 22, 2012 11:20 AM |

To raise national awareness about the role farmers markets play in supporting local farms and the importance of protecting American farmland, PASA member - American Farmland Trust - is launching their fourth annual America's Favorite Farmers Market™ contest.

We know there are some great farmers markets out there - including some that are dedicated PASA members! Vote now for your local market!

Winning markets will be featured on the foodsite and will receive a prize package of promotional tools to help them grow support for their farmers market.

Vote now and then tell your friends, neighbors & colleagues to do the same!

Our Spring Campaign 2012 ends soon - help us reach our goals

Our Spring Campaign 2012 ends soon - help us reach our goals

Posted by at Jun 22, 2012 07:30 AM |

PASA's Spring Campaign 2012 ends on June 30th, please consider helping us reach our end of the fiscal year goals by buying/renewing your annual PASA membership or considering making a donation.

Not able to financially contribute or already a member? That is ok - we appreciate everyone helping to spread the PASA message - one of the reasons why we created and began offering these resources during the Spring Campaign.

Consider sending a letter to your local newspaper editor, post a message about PASA to your Facebook page or include a note about PASA in your email to customers or family/friends.

PASA wants to thank all of our dedicated members, supporters and fellow organizations for helping to make our Spring Campaign 2012 a success!

Be sure to stay involved this summer - check out our upcoming Farm-Based Education and other regional events!

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