Federal, State Officials Launch New Training Center for Ag Professionals in Pennsylvania
Through the Center, this partnership aims to provide resources and expertise to PA producers and conservation professionals to further implement conservation.
(KEMPTON, PA, Oct. 19, 2023) Today officials from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service joined representatives of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission to launch the new Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training (the Center).
Through the Center, this partnership aims to provide resources and technical expertise to Pennsylvania’s conservation professionals to further implement agricultural conservation practices. The Center will also help ensure healthy land and water throughout the Commonwealth by leveraging funding and partnerships.
The Center will specialize in creating and hosting technical trainings, assuring conservation practices meet the highest quality standards, offer continuing education credits to conservation professionals, and further conservation practice implementation in the Commonwealth. In addition to these activities, there will be a newsletter produced titled “Ag Conservation Currents: News That Infiltrates and Transpires.” With communication tools such as the newsletter, the community can be updated on progress and success stories that are being made at the Center. Trainings are not just set to include county conservation districts and NRCS staff, rather the doors are open to a range of private and public professionals offering conservation technical support.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for NRCS employees and partners to learn from trained professionals about a multitude of conservation techniques, innovations, and best practices.” Said Denise Coleman, NRCS State Conservationist in Pennsylvania. "We are honored to partner with Penn State University and the State Conservation Commission to deliver high-quality technical training and standards to improve overall water quality and soil health management."
The Center’s team plans to spread across Pennsylvania to reach all parts of the Commonwealth. The purpose of this is to provide in-person guidance and make trainings as accessible for as many people as possible. In the spirit of reaching out to a varying audience, trainings will be put in place for the future of conservation as undergraduate level classes and in-field learning opportunities will be offered to students. “We look forward to bringing the University’s long history of agricultural and educational expertise to the partners,” says Jennifer Fetter, Interim Director of the Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training and Penn State Extension water resources program leader.
The team hopes to teach innovative, real-world lessons, such as the balancing act between farm operations and environmental impact. Developing and honing fast critical-thinking skills are one of many goals for the Center.
“Today is a historic day for Pennsylvania’s conservation partnerships with the signing of the MOU between the PA State Conservation Commission, USDA-NRCS, and Penn State University,” said Doug Wolfgang, Secretary of the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission. “The new Center will train conservation professionals to design and implement best management practices on farms that improve water quality, soil health, and farm viability.”
The Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training was formed earlier in 2023. Today’s celebration marks the official launch of the Center.
More information about the Center is available by clicking here: The Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training | Penn State Extension (psu.edu).