To Participate In A Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training Workshop

On April 13, 2019

To Participate In A Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training Workshop

Penn State Extension, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will be holding the Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training for Businesses workshop on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The workshop will be live-streamed and will have multiple viewing locations across the state. 

Spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that was discovered in Berks County in 2014. This pest has the potential to cause considerable damage to Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry. To help slow and stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has identified a fourteen-county quarantine zone and is requiring businesses, agencies, and organizations that move vehicles, equipment, and goods within and out of the quarantined area to obtain a permit. 

The Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training for Businesses is designed as a “train the trainer” course for designated employees. Once employees successfully pass the course exam, his or her company will receive spotted lanternfly permits for company vehicles from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Employees will then also be responsible for training fellow employees to work in the quarantine zone without inadvertently spreading these insects and endangering agriculture and commerce. 

There is no cost to register and although it is not required, registration it is encouraged. Walk-ins are welcome at all locations; however registered participants will be taken over walk-ins if location capacity is met. Registration can be made on the website by visiting:

or by calling 877-345-0691. The exam will be done after both PSU and PDA have spoken.  Exams will be graded on site and those participants that pass, will receive their permit before they leave that day. There are twelve locations across the state where the testing will be done and these locations are listed at the registration website. For more information, contact Emily Reid at 814-863-3170 or

To Try Manure Incorporation 

Thirty years ago, concerns about runoff from fields contributing to water quality problems came into a sharper focus. At that time the general understanding was that most of phosphorus losses to surface water was a result of sediment loss since phosphorus is tightly bound to soil particles. The strategy developed was one of control soil loss and you will control phosphorus loss to our waterways.

No-till practices have increased significantly over the past thirty years and many benefits have been realized in our agricultural production. The improvements in no-till equipment has reduced early failures and has greatly enabled wide adoption of the practice. Time and fuel savings are a great advantage. Additionally, we have learned much about the soil health benefits that come with no-till practices. Improved soil structure has increased water infiltration reducing runoff and increasing our ground water supplies. Of course, one of the main objectives of no-till was to reduce soil erosion and that has certainly been realized and has contributed to the reduction in sediment loss and the attached phosphorus loss to surface water. 

On livestock farms with significant manure production, long term surface application of manure has resulted in a concentration of phosphorus in the top inch or two of soils. In the past there was a general belief that phosphorus was not likely to dissolve in surface water and therefore was not leaving fields in clear water. In recent years however, research has shown that with a very concentrated band of phosphorus on the surface of our soils, phosphorus can dissolve into surface water and leave the fields in clear run off. 

So, this creates a dilemma, conventional tillage practices did mix in the manure throughout the plough layer and prevent a concentrated buildup of phosphorus in the top inch or two of our soil profile. But we don’t really want to go back to the old tillage methods since there are many disadvantages.

The compromise solution seems to be manure incorporation. Just as no-till planting equipment has improved greatly, manure incorporation equipment has made great strides. New equipment today enables injection of manure three or four inches below the surface with very minimal surface disturbance. This provides several important benefits. First placing the manure deeper in the soil profile means you do not get a concentrated band of phosphorus near the soil surface. This also reduces nitrogen losses from ammonia volatilization which saves fertilizer dollars on farms where manure is not sufficient to meet all crop needs. This savings of nitrogen can be enough to pay the additional cost of injection. A big benefit to farms with neighbors is the reduction of odor. In places where odor is a contentious issue this alone would be worth the cost of injection. 

Today a number of custom manure haulers have invested in current manure injection technology. Check with your custom operator to see if they can provide this service. If it is available in your area you may want to give it a try to evaluate the benefits on your farm.

To Be Aware Of The Deadline To Apply For A Hemp Permit

Following the announcement of the 2018 Farm Bill, which changed the federal designation of this crop, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) reopened the 2019 permit application process for growing industrial hemp in PA.  The modified application lifted some restrictions on acreage and did not establish an application deadline at the time of its announcement.

As we draw close to the time of planting our 2019 hemp crop, PDA has now set a deadline of April 30, 2019 for acceptance of any new applications.

PDA specialist Sarah Pickel notes “Properly completed applications received before May 1st will be processed and those applicants will have until May 21st to sign and return their permit contracts for final execution. For those who have already received an application or have begun the permitting process, no additional growing locations for 2019 will be approved after May 1st.”

For more information about the permitting process, please visit the the PDA website:

You can also visit the Penn State Extension Industrial Hemp Production page page to find information about producing the crop, along with sample enterprise budgets:

Quote Of The Week: “You will never reach your destination if you throw stones at every dog that barks” Winston Churchill