Penn State's Ag Progress Days put conservation, agronomy in one tent

University Park, Pa. — Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service often collaborate on programs related to crops, soils and natural resources. So it only makes sense that the two organizations will join forces under the same tent at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, set for Aug. 19-21.

The NRCS and Penn State's Department of Crop and Soil Science will co-sponsor the new Crops, Soils and Conservation Area, which will incorporate exhibits and specialists from USDA's Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies.

Exhibits, demonstrations and tours will reveal how federal, state and local agencies and private organizations work together to ensure the future of the state's natural resources. The partnership works, according to Douglas Beegle, professor of agronomy, because the disparate groups share a common purpose.
"People can meet, ask questions and talk to the Penn State departments, state and federal agencies, and public and private organizations that are working to support production agriculture in Pennsylvania while protecting our environment," Beegle said. "We will again have many of the best features from previous years, special plant and equipment exhibits, commodity groups and related associations in the tent, along with the hay competition."

Along with Penn State's agronomic activities, state agencies such as USDA-NRCS, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, conservation districts, Fish and Boat Commission, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry, and Pennsylvania Certified Organic will share space with allied organizations such as the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, the Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association and the Pennsylvania No-till Alliance.

Among the special exhibits will be a plot of Pennsylvania wildflowers, demonstrating ways that the flowers can be useful in conservation planning. The Penn State Rainfall Demonstrator will illustrate the effects of 30-year continuous no-till crop production techniques on runoff and erosion compared with reduced tillage and conventional tillage.

The tent also will sponsor special NRCS presentations throughout Ag Progress Days, including:

-- Alternative Energy for Grazing Systems (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday), with wind- and solar-powered water pump manufacturers presenting information on current products, and USDA grazing specialists discussing funding assistance.

-- Horse Pasture Management (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday), with USDA grazing specialists and producers explaining proper horse pasture management on limited acres.

--Targeted Grazing (10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.Thursday), featuring producers discussing the use of targeted grazing for forage harvesting and weed control on both owned and rented land.

No-till equipment also will be on display in partnership with the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance, whose members will be available to answer questions. Penn State Cooperative Extension specialists also will be on hand to talk to agricultural producers about any special problems at the ever-popular "Ask the Specialists" booth.

The common weeds exhibit and weed-identification display will offer fact sheets and examples of common weeds from around the state, with specialists on hand to help visitors formulate weed-management strategies. Teens also can get information on Penn State's academic degree opportunities in crop and soil sciences.

The ever-popular "A-Maze-N Corn" corn maze returns, as participants navigate the two-acre puzzle by answering general questions about Pennsylvania agriculture. The region's finest hay also will be selected at the annual Ag Progress Days Pennsylvania Hay Show. Visitors can submit entries to compete for prizes in 25 classes, with winning entries going to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January.

Penn State's Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 19; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 20; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site at http://apd.psu.edu.
 
EDITORS: Contact Douglas Beegle at (814) 863-1016 or dbb@psu.edu .
 

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Last Updated March 19, 2009