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McClellan Fills Statewide No-Till Coordinator Position

Penn State University has hired Jeff McClellan as the first Pennsylvania No-Till Coordinator, thanks to a statewide public-private partnership effort over a year in the making.

McClellan served in his capacity for the first time at last week’s Ag Progress Days, staffing the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance booth and talking to interested farmers and others who stopped by.

McClellan has a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Penn State and formed a no-till consulting company soon after graduating in the late 1970’s. The business included a farm operation of about 1,000 acres of no-till crops in Centre County and worked directly with farmers throughout the Northeast.

McClellan said that the company focused a good bit on adapting equipment for no-till. Success in a no-till system still requires a good deal of adaptability in farmers, he pointed out. McClellan has also worked for years in the agricultural chemical, biotech and seed industries, just prior to this recent career move.

The new PA No-Till Coordinator will be housed at the Penn State campus, but oversight of his position will come through the Pennsylvania No-Till Partnership, which includes representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, State Conservation Commission, PA Association of Conservation Districts, PA Resource Conservation and Development Councils, PA Farm Bureau, Penn Ag Industries Association as well as the PA No-Till Alliance, a statewide farmer-run group formed last year.

Funding for the position has been the collaborative effort of all partners involved, and coordinating this statewide initiative to truly serve the farmers through on-the-ground conservation will be a big part of McClellan’s job.

McClellan shares some sound advice for farmers who try no-till practices for a season or two and fail: “There are people in the state who have been no-tilling continuously for 20 to 30 years, and they had the same problems you did.”

According to McClellan, about 95 percent of Pennsylvania farmland is suitable for continuous no-till.

The No-Till Alliance, 100 or so farmer members strong, is a great resource for those starting out in no-till. Participation in the PA No-Till Alliance is open to farmers and all those supporting no-till agriculture in the public and private sectors.

McClellan can be reached after September 1 at 814-863-4260 or send email to: jtm23@psu.edu .

Link: PA No-Till Alliance


8/25/2006

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