Click HERE for a recap of the PYFA 2018 Winter Conference
The PYFA/PAAE Summer Conference took place July 13-16 at Tyrone High School and Penn State University. Tuesday morning was a session called “Ag EduCamp” where the attendees divided into ten discussion groups on various topics pertaining to agriculture education. Click here for more details
Seventeen PYFA members attended the annual summer PYFA/PAAE conference July 8-9 in Derry, Westmoreland County. Following the quarterly board meeting, four tour options were offered.
The farm tour went to three different types of farms. The first was Kepple’s dairy farm, where 160-180 cows are milked by three robotic milking machines. The Kepple family has used robotic milkers now for three years on their Century farm.
The Heinnickel family raises 1600 beef cattle on their farm, selling 90 percent of them to a packing company in eastern PA. They stressed the importance of keeping the appearance of the farm neat and clean because it affects the public perception of the operation. They feed large round bales of hay, distillers grains, waste produce from grocery stores, and a feed mixed from corn, soybeans, barley, and minerals. In addition they have a small animal vet clinic on the farm.
Fabin Brothers is a grain farm that harvests 3500 acres of corn and soybeans. They operate a soybean crushing plant, selling the oil and dry meal for animal feed. They also sell their corn to a PA ethanol plant for biodiesel. The crushing plant operates 24/7 and processes 4500 bushes per day, making 125 tons of meal and 6000 gallons of oil.
Other tours were a horticulture tour to Musser’s Forests, Yarnick’s Hydroponics, and Tom’s Run Golf Course; energy tour to Homer City Generating Station and Brookside Dairy methane digester; Laurel Highlands tour to a wind generator and the Flight 93 National Memorial; and the food tour to Turner’s Dairy Processing plant and Bardine Smokehouse.
PYFA Holds Annual Conference The 54th Annual Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association Winter Conference kicked off Tuesday, February 4, 2014, in Gettysburg with tours of two area businesses.
R.H. Sheppard Company of Hanover engineers and manufactures quality heavy duty steering gears for tractor trailers, buses, Hum–vees and other military vehicles. Since its founding in 1937, R.H. Sheppard has remained a privately owned corporation dedicated to the manufacture of high quality engineered products for trucks, bus, rail, construction, recreation, and military vehicles. PYFA members toured the technology center, assembly building, and the museum which houses original Sheppard tractors.
The company originally manufactured floor scrubbers, wire mesh, and generators. It has over 800 employees.
The second tour stop was Miller Chemical, also in Hanover, which manufactures specialty agricultural products for the U.S. and overseas. Non–toxic sprays are made from pine resins that, when added to herbicides and pesticides, reduce volatility of the sprays, increase longevity, and prevent leaching or dilution from rainwater. Miller is constantly researching new products and new uses to increase farmers’ productivity.
Tuesday evening members enjoyed private access to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and viewed the film and cyclorama, followed by an ice cream social provided by the Gettysburg Young Farmers Chapter.
The annual Delegates Meeting took place on Wednesday where Nathan Jamison of Berlin was elected president and Dan Wilkinson of Gettysburg was elected president–elect. New board members are Nathan Kreider, Eastern Region; Jason Wolfe, Northern Region; and Jason Rentzel, South–Central Region.
Educational workshops were presented Wednesday afternoon. Darlene Livingston, Executive Director of PA Farm Link, spoke on farm transitions with many helpful hints for beginning the conversation toward passing the farm to the next generation.
A representative from AT&T showed many applications available to assist farmers in collecting and storing data. Suggested uses were documenting pesticide and herbicide applications, irrigation and harvesting data, livestock inventory tracking and health information. Facility monitoring and water management are also possible, as well as video conferencing with a veterinarian to avoid farm visits. Smart phones and tablets can be used to save paperwork and labor for today’s farmers. All applications are available in any AT&T store and website hosting and maintenance are also available.
The third workshop was presented by Mark Clowney of Barlow Worm Composting. He described his vermi–composting business using redworms and manure to produce a soil amendment product.
Wednesday evening was the annual awards banquet. The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Scott and Vickie Kreider of the Solanco Chapter. Jennifer Sands of Weis Markets was named Honorary Young Farmer for her assistance with the Spokesperson for Agriculture contest each year in conjunction with the Winter Conference. Nathan and Justine Kreider, Solanco, won the Outstanding Young Farmer Over 30 Award. Carl and Cindy Keller of Gettysburg received the 2014 Richard Hoppes Memorial Award for their years of exemplary service to PYFA. Deb Kammerer, advisor to the Gettysburg Young Farmers, was named Outstanding Young Farmer Advisor. A lively auction concluded the evening’s activities.
Next year’s Winter Conference will be held Feb. 3–5, 2015, at the Lancaster DoubleTree Resort,
hosted by Solanco Young Farmers Chapter.
Three farm families were honored with the Outstanding Young Farmer Award when the Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association met recently in Lewisburg for their annual winter conference, hosted by the Lewisburg and Mifflinburg Young Farmers chapters.
Outstanding Young Farmers Under 30 are Mike Shearer, Manheim, and the Ellis Kreider family of the Solanco chapter. Mike is the head mechanic on the family farm where they do custom corn planting on 2,000 acres. He uses a GPS mapping system on his no till planter, then overlays it with yield mapping on the combine. He earned his American FFA degree and strives to introduce new and upcoming technology into his farm practices.
Ellis, Kerri, and Hannah Kreider are part owners of S&A Kreider and Sons, consisting of 1000 acres, 1010 milking cows, and 1033 heifers. Ellis is the dairy herd manager, producing two million pounds of milk per month. A new double 20 cow parlor is under construction and cows are housed in a drive–through free stall barn. Ellis serves as a director on the Solanco Fair Board, Vice Chairman of the Lancaster DHIA Board, and Unit Representative Young Cooperator with Land O´ Lakes.
Chosen as Outstanding Young Farmers Over 30 were Keith and Denise Leydig of the Berlin Brothersvalley Chapter. Keith and Denise have been married for 20 years, have three children, and work together as farmers, with Denise being chief bookkeeper and organizer. Keith bales about 10,000 round bales a year, much of which is used for mine reclamation. The Leydigs are always available to help in the community. Keith helped build the community youth soccer field, and is 2nd assistant chief with the local fire company. He helps with Farm Safety Day instruction and often provides facilities for Fire Department training exercises including vehicle rescue in his parking lot and pumping at the pond.
Paul Heasley was honored as the Outstanding Young Farmer Advisor. He is the agriculture teacher at State College High School and has served as an FFA advisor for 30 years and Young Farmers advisor since 1995. He has written many journal articles on program development, planning, and innovative learning, and has received 42 grants for the ag science program. Heasley has instructed and evaluated over 145 PSU Ag Ed students over the past twelve years. He is currently a member of the Biodiesel Team with Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences and has served on the Agricultural and Extension Education Advisory Committee for ten years.
The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Galen and Lilli Ann Kopp of Manheim. Galen is a Dairy Field Representative for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers and Lilli Ann is a home ec teacher recently retired from Manheim Central. Galen chairs the PA Dairy of Distinction Program and the Manheim Farm Show Dairy Show. He serves on the board of the Mid–Atlantic Alliance for Cooperatives and on the Manheim Central School District Ag Advisory Council. Lilli Ann volunteers on the library board, food bank, and judges fairs and 4–H events annually. They are both very active in their church and live on a Century Farm that has been in the family for six generations.
Officers for the next year are Past President Jeff McClellan of Centre Hall, President Robert Corman of Centre Hall, President–Elect Nathan Jamison of Berlin, Secretary Caleb Wright of Alexandria, Treasurer Ed Zug of Peach Bottom, and Public Relations Britney Marsh of Carlisle. Regional Vice Presidents are Eastern Region– Bill Zollers and Hannah Wentworth, Northern– Carol Corman, South–Central– Kathy Zimmerman, and Western– Denise Leydig.
Three workshops were held on Wednesday afternoon as part of the educational portion of the conference. Todd Rush from Team Ag presented an informative workshop on the planning and permitting process for a large livestock project. Rush covered manure and nutrient management planning, CAOs and CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Operations and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), odor management, and erosion and sedimentation plans, in addition to zoning, land development plans, and numerous other requirements for building ag projects.
A second workshop was presented by Eugene Gantz, from the Risk Management Agency of USDA, on crop insurance. Mr. Gantz reviewed the many different options for types of coverage for most crops grown in Pennsylvania, and stressed the deadline of March 15 for sign up.
Tours of businesses in the Snyder/Union County area were a large part of the Winter Conference. The first tour stop was the Dean Koch collection of vintage tractors, cars and trucks. Members enjoyed examining the beautifully restored vehicles housed in a new building.
The third stop was Seedway, a large seed producer and distributor to the Mid–Atlantic states. One hundred fifty employees produce corn, soybeans, and small grains and also market forage and turf seeds. The company ships 10,000 bags of seed per day.
Pik–Rite, manufacturer of tomato and vegetable harvesting equipment, manure spreaders, and tanks, was the next stop. Pik–Rite employs 70 and has been busy making tank trucks for hauling water for the Marcellus Shale industry. They also build about 150 manure spreaders per year.
Members took a bus tour of the Eastern Industries quarry operation where 60 ton loads of limestone are poured into the crusher to make various sizes of stone for the construction industry and lime for agriculture. Pennsylvania ranks second in the U.S. for stone production.
The final tour visited Olivia Platt´s dairy farm where she uses a robotic system to milk her 50 Holsteins. The state of the art system tracks individual cows´ production, health, and milk quality. After about a year of operation and "working out the bugs" the Platts are pleased with the operation of the robotic system.
The PA Young Farmers Association will join the PA Association of Agricultural Educators for their summer conference July 9–10, 2013, at Manheim High School.