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Agriculture, Environmental Groups Create a Storm at Capitol – Video Blog
Secretary Wolff, Dr. Sjoerd, Sen. Brubaker, Rep. Hanna, Dr. Steele

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, the PA No-Till Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation participated in “College Capitol Day,” which focused on the importance of agricultural research giving farmers new tools to reduce their environmental footprint.

The event also celebrated the success of partnerships in achieving agricultural and environmental quality improvements for Pennsylvania’s lands and waterways and the recently passed Resource Enhancement and Protection Tax Credit Program (REAP) farm conservation tax credit.

Matthew Ehrhart, Executive Director of CBF’s Pennsylvania Office, introduced speakers Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) and Rep. Mike Hanna (D-Centre), the chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees, Agricultural Secretary Dennis Wolff, Robert Steele, Dean of Penn State’s College of Agriculture and Dr. Sjoerd Duiker, a Soil Management Specialist from Penn State.

Each spoke to the challenges facing Pennsylvania agriculture, and the need for collaboration among many interests.

“Agriculture and clean water are vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, and REAP helps farmers by enabling them to protect water quality by making improvements to their farms,” said Matthew Ehrhart, Executive Director of CBF’s Pennsylvania office. “For every dollar of tax credit this year, farmers are investing almost a dollar as well, strengthening local economies across the Commonwealth.”

Video Blog: Matt Ehrhart’s comments

Rep. Hanna expressed his support for the REAP Program giving farmers a new tool to help fund farm conservation measures. He noted the proposal was a bipartisan initiative sponsored by Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair).

Video Blog: Rep. Hanna’s remarks

Sen. Brubaker spoke in support of the partnerships helping agriculture, as illustrated by the sponsor of the event, and the need to work cooperatively to continue the water quality improvements in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Video Blog: Sen. Brubaker’s comments

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff also highlighted the success of the new REAP Program. He noted that over 50 percent of Pennsylvania’s row crop land was now using no-till farming measures that reduced nutrient and sediment runoff.

Video Blog: Secretary Wolff’s remarks

Robert Steele, Dean of the College of Agriculture Sciences, said his message was simple-- “we’re all in this together” and about the importance of agriculture research to give farmers more options.

Video Blog: Robert Steele’s comments

Dr. Sjoerd Duiker, of the Crop Management Extension Group at Penn State, explained the benefits of no-till farming to improve farm production and reduce nutrient and sediment runoff.

Video Blog: Dr. Buiker’s remarks

This event was part of Penn State's College Capital Day activities sponsored by the Penn State Agricultural Council and the Pennsylvania Council of Cooperative Extension Associations.

More than 160 representatives of the agricultural industry and supporters of county-based cooperative extension programs visited the capitol throughout the day to emphasize how state support for agricultural research and cooperative extension is an investment that can enhance agricultural profitability, environmental quality, food safety, healthy families, vibrant communities, and the development of renewable energy.

Link: Rodale Institute No-Till+ Webpage


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