Establishing a Service Provider Network for Alternative Grain Crops in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania state project, running from 2017 to 2020, is addressing needs and opportunities associated with alternative grain production and marketing with a team of 15 Extension educators from agricultural entrepreneurship, agronomic crop production and animal science teams. Educators are developing market assessments for heritage grains and malting barley and share this information with farmers, conducting on-farm demonstrations of grain crops potentially suited to different growing regions in the state and showcasing these with field days, and synthesizing information they learn into written and digital Extension resources that can be easily used with farmers.
Recently Completed Project
Monitoring and Predicting Ecosystem Functions in Agricultural Systems
The sustainability of agricultural systems depends upon the maintenance of ecosystem functions such as carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling, pest regulation, and weed suppression. To maintain ecosystem functioning in agricultural systems, farmers and ag service providers must be knowledgeable about the processes, monitoring methods, and prediction tools relevant to each ecosystem function. Farmers and ag service providers can then use information gained from monitoring and predicting ecosystem functions to inform management actions.
This three year initiative, begun in 2014, taught ag service providers and input suppliers about a range of concepts and measurement/monitoring tools related to soil carbon inputs, losses and storage; N mineralization and fertilizer recommendations; effects of pesticides on pollinators and beneficial insects, insect monitoring techniques, and more.