Cover crops demonstration plot to be featured at Ag Progress Days

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Visitors can learn more about the benefits of cover crops at an expanded cover crops demonstration plot beside the J.D. Harrington Crops, Soils and Conservation Building at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 18-20.

The two-year-old Harrington Building -- named for the late Joseph D. Harrington, professor emeritus of agronomy and former Ag Progress Days manager -- is home to several exhibits and activities highlighting conservation and crops management. The structure, located at Harrington Lane and the end of East 5th Street, was dedicated at last year's Ag Progress Days.

The Crops, Soils and Conservation Building includes a wide variety of topics, from crops and animals to forest management, for visitors of any age. It will house exhibits staffed by organizations related to soil and crop management, as well as aspects of conservation, such as forestry, water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and wildlife.

Professor of forage management Marvin Hall, coordinator of the conservation area at Ag Progress Days, noted that this year it will include several attractions showcasing equipment used in no-till agriculture, a butterfly garden, live animals and plots of warm-season grasses and forages.

"No-till agriculture continues to gain new ground in Pennsylvania," Hall said. "Farming without tillage saves the soil, improves soil quality and reduces energy inputs."

Growing quality forages is the key to raising productive and healthy cattle, sheep, goats, horses and other livestock on a farm, Hall pointed out.

Hay producers can bring samples to be evaluated during the conservation area's Hay Show. These samples must have been grown in Pennsylvania in 2015 by the exhibitor. Entries officially close at 10 a.m. on Aug. 18, but exhibitors are encouraged to deliver their samples on Aug. 17 before the show begins. You can see the hay brochure for this year here.

Sustainable agriculture also will be represented, and visitors can meet with the experts from Penn State, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Pennsylvania Certified Organic and have questions answered.

Information on composting, biofuels, watering systems, plants that attract pollinators and deer-management strategies also will be available.

The corn maze also will return to the Crops, Soils and Conservation area. As always, it is stroller and wheel-chair accessible.

Crop and conservation topics also will be featured in other areas of the Ag Progress Days site. Tours focused on managing deer and other wildlife as part of a Quality Deer Management system will leave daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with an additional tour at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

A tour on water quality and riparian buffers will leave daily at 11:30 a.m. All tours will leave from the corn crib at the top of Main Street.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 18; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 19; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 20. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event here.

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Last Updated July 27, 2015