Ag Progress Days exhibits focus on important issues for Pennsylvania

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Amidst the wide variety of events, activities and exhibits at Penn State's Ag Progress Days, Aug. 16-18, the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building will provide a focal point for those interested in knowing about a few key issues affecting Pennsylvania and how the college is addressing them.

The building, which also contains a theatre area for presentations, will showcase topics of importance for Pennsylvania's agriculture, citizens and environment. This year's displays will feature the following:

-- Integrating Land and Water Stewardship. Penn State's Environment and Natural Resources Institute and its Agriculture and Environment Center will provide information on initiatives to address local and regional water-quality issues associated with agricultural production in Pennsylvania. These initiatives include research, extension education and engaged scholarship to develop new farming systems for water-quality protection; field-, farm- and watershed-based approaches to protecting water quality; decision support for watershed groups and policymakers; and education initiatives for Penn State students.

In March, the College of Agricultural Sciences and partners hosted the Pennsylvania in the Balance conference in Hershey. More than 120 diverse stakeholders attended the event, where motivated leaders in agriculture and the environment identified new, innovative solutions that can help ensure vibrant, productive agriculture while meeting water-quality goals for Pennsylvania's rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

During Ag Progress Days, the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center will host several listening sessions with producers and other stakeholders to share conference outcomes and gather input on how to meet the dual goals of vibrant agriculture and clean water. Those sessions will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the Special Events Building, and from 11 a.m. to noon at the College Exhibits Building theater and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the United Farm Family Learning Center Building, both on Thursday, Aug. 18.

-- Rearing Sustainable and Healthy Small Flocks. In recognition of the growing trend of small and "backyard" poultry flocks, the Penn State Extension Poultry Science Team will explain how to raise healthy small flocks for profit and fun. This is especially important in light of the threat of avian flu, which has the potential to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to the state's large poultry industry.

Producers can learn tips about the latest strategies and techniques to raise poultry safely, practice good biosecurity and keep their flocks healthy. Presentations in the theatre will include Best Management Practices for the Care of Backyard Poultry; Movement to Cage-Free Production: Impact on Consumers; and Avian Influenza and What You Should Do to Protect Your Backyard Poultry Flock.

-- Fueling Pennsylvania Progress with Field and Forest Bioenergy. Researchers are studying woody biomass as a source of renewable energy and a potential driver of an emerging bio-based economy in Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Presentations will include: Can Biomass Energy Improve My Forest?; What New Economic Opportunities Do Biomass Crops Provide?; Put the Renewable Energy REDA Grant To Work for You; and How Do Biomass Crops Create Healthy Landscapes?

-- Forests' Legacy and Your Legacy. Seventy percent — an estimated 11.5 million acres — of forested land in Pennsylvania is held by nearly 750,000 private landowners, making proper management and conservation a challenge. This exhibit will highlight the education, outreach and applied research programs conducted by the Center for Private Forests at Penn State.

Visitors can learn about best practices for stewarding a woodland — including planning for forest regeneration and strategies to keep woods intact — and watch a preview of a national documentary about the importance of privately owned forests. Presentations in the theatre will include The Future of Family Woodlands: Tools for Legacy Planning, and Thinking About Tomorrow's Forests: Tips for Forest Regeneration.

-- Other presentations in the College Exhibits Building theatre include Robotic Milking in Pennsylvania, and GMOs in Agriculture: Separating the Myths from Reality. The complete schedule of Ag Progress Days events is available online.

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, located 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 18. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can share information about the event using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event at http://www.facebook.com/AgProgressDays.

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Last Updated August 05, 2016