Welcome to the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance!
Using No-Till Systems to Improve our Soil Quality, Productivity and Profitability for Future Generations
To promote the successful application of no-till through shared ideas, experiences, education and new technology
Check out our News and Events page for upcoming events!
Inaugural Alliance Soil Health Meeting in Western PA a Success
On February 25 amidst high winds, blowing snow and some area power outages the Alliance sponsored the first of two Soil Health meetings focused on Cover Crops and No-Till: Making It Work. The event kicked off with Leroy Bupp’s always popular hands-on soil health demonstration. The meeting drew about 75 interested and attentive participants from at least 14 different Pennsylvania counties, as well as registrations from Ohio and New York.
Featured speaker Loran Steinlage, a no-till and cover crop innovator from Iowa, presented two different sessions entitled “Adaption vs. Adoption” during which he stressed that on his farm, practices were continually evolving as he “adapted” to new conditions and an increasing knowledge base. Most recently he has begun inter-seeding and relay cropping. As one attendee observed, “he presented enough thought provoking ideas that you had to listen closely just to keep up.”
Other sessions addressed the basics and importance of building soil organic matter, the connection between healthy soils and water quality and a panel of local farmers, including Alliance board members Bill Cannon and Ryan Graham, discussing their experiences with cover cropping and no-till on their own farms.
As Alliance President Jim Hershey observed after the meeting, “it was encouraging to see so many farmers, from a part of the state where the Alliance has not previously hosted events, willing to step out of the box and embrace learning about soil health.”
Eastern PA Soil Health Meeting Well Attended
The day following the Western PA meeting, February 26, 115 people attended a similar meeting in East Earl, PA. Along with Loran Steinlage’s stimulating presentations, participants heard from Gideon Stoltfus of Pequea Planter about no-till and cover crop experiences on Plain Sect farms. This was followed by board member Steve Groff relating his experiences in improving soil health in vegetable crop production utilizing the same cover crop and no-till practices engaged with row crops.
Remarks from Kelly Shenk, EPA Region 3 Ag Liaison, and a farmer panel, including board members Jeff Frey and Jim Harbach, discussing managing manure application in cover crop systems rounded out the day. This was well received by those in attendance, as one attendee observed, “farmers always learn best from other farmers.”