Panel discussion on Pennsylvania water quality to be held at Ag Progress Days

Emily Bartlett
August 04, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Collaborative strategies to meet water-quality goals for Pennsylvania's rivers and streams while ensuring productive agriculture will be the topic of a panel discussion at this year's Ag Progress Days exposition.

The hourlong event will begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17, in the Special Events Building at the Ag Progress Days site. Rick Roush, dean of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, and Russell Redding, state agriculture secretary, will host the discussion.

"Working Together to Meet Water Quality Goals in Pennsylvania" will focus on how a host of educational and governmental agencies can work together to identify and solve various environmental and economic problems related to the impact of agriculture on the state's waterways.

"Assisting Pennsylvania agriculture in addressing water-quality challenges is a priority area for the college," said Mary Wirth, College of Agricultural Sciences director of college relations and communications.

While meeting water-quality goals in agriculture is challenging, it can be achieved, according to Matthew Royer, director of the college's Agriculture and Environment Center. "Farmers themselves are the solution to improving water quality," he said. "The culture of stewardship that is ingrained in Pennsylvania agriculture can form the basis of an exciting new consensus around meeting goals of viable farms and healthy streams."

In early March in Hershey, Royer coordinated a three-day conference, hosted by Penn State and other partners, to discuss Pennsylvania agriculture's role in and approach to Chesapeake Bay restoration. The event, titled "Pennsylvania in the Balance," included leaders in agriculture and the environment working together to identify new, innovative solutions that can help ensure that the state maintains a vibrant and productive agriculture industry, while meeting water-quality goals for the Commonwealth's rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Following is the agenda for "Working Together to Meet Water Quality Goals in Pennsylvania":

  • Welcome and Introductions, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.
  • U.S. Geological Survey Data Presentation, Michael Langland, USGS hydrologist.
  • Update on the Best Management Practices Farm Survey and Next Steps, Jim Shortle, distinguished professor and director of the College of Agricultural Sciences' Environment and Natural Resources Institute, and Kelly Heffner, deputy secretary in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Themes from the Pennsylvania in the Balance Conference and Next Steps, Matt Royer, director of Penn State's Agriculture and Environment Center.
  • Income-Producing Buffer Initiative, Pennsylvania Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Dunn.
  • Questions and Closing Remarks, Dean Rick Roush, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.

Three "Pennsylvania in the Balance" listening sessions, titled "Meeting Dual Goals of Vibrant Agriculture and Clean Water," also will be held. 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.

"The listening sessions are ways of inviting more producers, stakeholders and other interested members of the public to hear about conference outcomes and shape next steps and a path forward for meeting Pennsylvania's dual goals of viable, productive agriculture and clean water," Royer explained.

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, 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 find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and Facebook users can find the event at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 04, 2016