Agriculture

HARRISBURG

Ag accepting grant concept proposals

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is accepting concept proposals for projects that increase the visibility and competitiveness of the state’s fruit and vegetable, nursery, horticultural and nut products.

The proposals, part of a two-phase competitive process for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, are authorized under the Farm Bill. Commodities that meet the definition of specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticultural products, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants and nursery crops, including floricultural ones.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 28. For more information about the program, contact Morgan Sheffield at 717-787-3568 or msheffield@pa.gov, or visit www.agriculture.pa.gov.

HERSHEY

Local farm bureaus recognized

Bedford County Farm Bureau finished in second place for the Overall Achievement Award and won a President’s Award for County Board Organization, tying Susquehanna County and Somerset County in the award category of 401 or more farmer members during Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s 68th annual meeting in Hershey.

Centre County Farm Bureau won five awards, including the Overall Achievement Award and President’s Awards for Leadership Development, Media Relations & Member Communications, Agriculture Education, and Services in the category of county farm bureaus with up to 400 farmer members.

Also in the up to 400-member category, Cambria County Farm Bureau won two President Awards, including Policy Development & Implementation, and Services, while Clearfield County also won two President’s Awards, tying for Agriculture Education and Services.

HARRISBURG

Ag officials urge poultry biosecurity

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and State Veteri­narian Dr. David Wolfgang are reminding poultry owners to take effective biosecurity measures through December to prevent the spread of avian influenza during fall wild bird migration.

Avian influenza viruses can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese, guinea fowl and a variety of other birds. So far this season, there have been no major outbreaks or flocks identified with the more pathogenic strains of avian influenza in the United States.

UNIVERSITY PARK

PSU Extension project recognized

A Penn State Extension project — “Supporting Pennsyl­vania Farmers in the Start-Up, Restrategizing and Estab­lishing Years” — recently received an award for excellence from the National Association of County Agricul­tural Agents.

“We are honored to be recognized by peers for what has been a transformative project for everyone involved,” Lee Stivers, extension educator who accepted the award, said in a statement.

“Our goal was to increase the number and success of beginning farmers in Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on women and Hispanic and Latino farmers,” said Stivers of the three-year project, which ended in October 2017. “As a result, 52 people started farming, another 248 received assistance in starting to farm and 454 improved their farming success. We could not be more thrilled.

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