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2013 Conservation Success Stories

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AmVets Post 122: Fishing for Success

In February of 2011, AmVets Post 122, located in Thompsontown, Pennsylvania, near the 322/22 state highway interchange, was referred to the Mifflintown USDA NRCS Service Center in Juniata County, for assistance with funding fish/stream habitat restoration.  The Post owns 3.4 acres of land along the Delaware Creek in the Doe-Run Juniata River watershed.

Beef Farmer Reaps Benefits from Grazing

George and William Long are fourth-generation farmers for Long Farms in northeastern Crawford County, Pennsylvania.  In 1998, they converted from dairy to raise Simmental-cross beef cows. with over 250 acres of crop land, the Longs contacted NRCS in 2008 for a grazing plan to help them start managing their pastures and address some resource concerns on the farm.

Conservation as a Team Effort

 For the past three years, in the fertile lands of southeastern Lancaster County, there has been a team approach to getting conservation on the ground.  The 2008 Farm Bill enabled groups that work with the agricultural community within a geographical area to apply for project funding to address priority concerns within that area.  This funding was called Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative       (CCPI) and was administered through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Conservation Innovation Grant Helps Restore American Chestnuts While Restoring Reclaimed PA Mine Lands

On August 13, Bryan Burhans, President and CEO of the American Chestnut Foundation, Don McCann, President of the PA Chapter of TACF, Kurt Simon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Michael French, Forester visited two sites in Pennsylvania as a follow-up to a Conservation Innovation Grant awarded to TACF in 2011.

The first site, near Tremont, PA in Schuylkill County, was planted in early 2012.

E. Stoltzfus, Jr Farm

The Elam Stoltzfus Family Farm is located near Mill Hall in Clinton County, Pennsylvania. The 75 acre Amish Farm is comprised of 50 acres of cropland, 9 acres of pasture, 15 acres Forested and 1 acre of headquarters.  The livestock on the farm consists of 40 dairy cows, 20 heifers, and 11 horses.  The farm was established by the belated Elam S. Stoltzfus, father of Elam, Jr. and locally known as Curley. The farm is now operated by son Elam Jr., a new/beginning farmer with tremendous help from his mother Priscilla, and sisters Mary and Susie.

Grazing Management Improves Water Quality on a Columbia County Dairy Farm

Ken Ryman, Jr. and his family operate a 50 cow dairy operation in Columbia County.  Along with the 50 dairy cows, the Ryman's raise 45 replacement heifers, 15 dry cows and a few beef steers.  Additionally, they grow grass and alfalfa hay, oats, and corn for silage and grain.  Most of the field crops grown are used on farm for the dairy animals.

ISKCON Farm of Port Royal, Juniata County

ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a popular religious-based, world-wide organization. Membership varies in terms of social, economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. ISKCON has more than 400 centers, including 60 farm communities. One of these unique farm communities is located in Port Royal, Pennsylvania.

Brazilian Native Finds a Home in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

Antonio Josiman "Joe" Ferreira grew up in the Amazon in Brazil, South America.  Born in a canoe in Brazil, he is now a "fish" in the water.  Joe and his five siblings were raised by his mother, a single parent who worked three jobs.  All the children, by the age of 6 years old had to work too.  Joe sold popsicles to help buy food for the family. When everyone was paid, they all put their money on the table and paid their bills first.  If any money was left, then they bought food. That was his mother's philosophy and to this day Joe believes the same way: pay your lenders, then buy food and necessities last. 

Maret WRP Wetland Restoration

Timothy and Sherri Maret own a 46 acre form near Newburg, Pennsylvania.  Tim is a professor of  iology at Shippensburg University and wanted to conserve the wetlands on their property and improve the habitat to attract a diversity of wetland wildlife species.

Amish Farmer a Model for Conservation

Raymond King is a model conservationist who is enthusiastic about passing on what he has learned to other farmers, especially those within his plain sect community. With the help of NRCS and partners, Raymond has implemented a variety of conservation practices on his dairy farm over the past few years that provide numerous environmental and operational benefits.

NRCS Provides Solution to Manure Storage for Organic Chicken Farmer

In 2011, Dave Reifsneider approached NRCS looking at a better solution to handle the manure from his four chicken houses.  Dave recently switched to raising organic chickens from turkeys.

Approximately every ten weeks, when the new flocks are introduced, each house needs to be cleaned out. Historically, Dave's only method of handling the manure was to haul it to an area and hope the timing was right for neighboring farmers to spread the manure on their fields.

NRCS Wetland Habitat - Snyder County

Jerry Hoffman had always been interested in agriculture and wildlife, but his career kept him in a fast paced suburban environment for over 28 years. Jerry finally got a taste of rural life when he purchased a farm in Snyder County, Pennsylvania in 1988.

Conservation Partners Restore Coal Creek After Flooding

On July 3, 2011, major flooding destroyed the neighborhoods and streets surrounding Coal Creek in Plymouth, Pennsylvania.  Although flood damages totaled upwards of $5 million, the localized event did not qualify for FEMA funding. In order to address the problems, the Luzerne Conservation District obtained a Growing Greener grant and acted as the local sponsor for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program funds.

Conservation Practices Transform Dairy into a Modern-Day Operation

Returning home from college after completing a dairy science degree, Jimmy Harris was faced with facilities that were ill-equipped to handle the demands of a modern day dairy operation. His farm, located in central Bucks County, Pennsylvania, housed approximately 50 replacement diary heifers and dry cows in an old, existing, livestock barn. The aging facility had no manure collection system, so manure was stacked on an uncontrolled, earthen surface located within 50 feet of the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. In addition, the earthen barnyard was within 100 feet of the farm pond, as well as an unnamed tributary to the creek to which the animals had free access. The farm’s cropland was experiencing erosion, and manure was applied to the cropland without a nutrient management plan.

Bloomsburg University, NRCS and the Columbia County Conservation District - Working together to Educate our Youth

Since 1997, the Bloomsburg NRCS Field Office along with NRCS Soil Scientists, in conjunction with Bloomsburg University professors, have been conducting a two-day soils field trip for the Bloomsburg University Soils class. 2013 was no exception.

For the first day of the field trip, Shannon Levan, NRCS soil conservation technician and BU alumni, who spearheads this project every year, along with former Supervisory District Conservationist and current ACES employee, Paul Yankovich, took the studentssto a farming operation in Columbia County where the farmer has been gracious enough to allow them to use his property for the last eight years.

Lancaster County Plain Sect Farmers As Clean Water Stewards

It didn't seem like a big deal to the Amish farmer.  It was just a narrow tributary of a creek that flowed past the dairy barn, where the manure and water ran.  "We thought of the tiny stream as a drainage ditch, as a way of getting rid of material we did not want," he shares.


CSP Rewards Forest Landowner for Conservation Stewardship in Tioga County

The landowner of a 137-acre tract of mostly wooded land, and Vice President of the Tioga County Woodland Owners Association, Dale Spitzer, came in to the Wellsboro USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field Office to tell me his story.  He didn't come in looking for advice, but rather to tell me what he's accomplished on his land.  Dale is a big guy who apparently has done some pretty big things, so I gave him all the time he needed.  Dale showed us his Forest Stewardship Plan, and pointed out that he had already done everything that was scheduled and was seeking to update the plan with the soon retiring DCNR Service Forester, Sam Cook.
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