- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) meeting of the Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee will meet October 22 rather than the originally scheduled date of December 21. Location will be Northampton Community College in Bethlehem. Details: Susan Foster 717/787-7019, email@example.com.
- The State Conservation Commission is holding two October meetings: October 14 is the Commercial Manure Hauler & Broker Orientation and October 15 is the Broker 2 Nutrient Balance Sheet Training. Details: 717/772-5218
HARRISBURG – On August 14 at 10:00 a.m. in the Red Barn, PDA Secretary Greig has invited members of the Pa. State Council of Farm Organizations to participate in a Town Hall meeting. This will be an open dialogue between the Department and attendees.
Among other things, discussions will include FDA regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), implementation of the Farm Bill, the PDA Budget for the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, and a host of other regulatory topics.
Other topics of interest to PSCFO members such as the EPA’s proposed water definition and the feral hog issue may also be addressed.
RSVPs are needed because of limited seating. Ben Junkin 717/787-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org
HARRISBURG – On August 4, the Pa. Department of Agriculture expanded the walnut quarantine for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties because of the presence of Thousand Cankers Disease (Geosmithia morbida and Pityophthorus juglandis).
This order forbids transport of “nuts, nursery stock, budwood, scionwood, green lumber, firewood, and other material living, dead, cut, fallen including stumps, roots, branches, mulch and composted and uncomposted chips…” from walnut trees.
The order provides a procedure to request exemptions. Movement of the above into PA is also prohibited from other states where the disease is present: AZ, CA, CO, ID, IN, MD, NV, NM, NC, OH, OR, TN, UT, VA, and WA unless the plant regulatory agency of the state of origin issues a document certifying that the regulated article is determined to be free of Thousand Cankers Disease.
More information: Dana Rhodes 717/772-5205, email@example.com.
On July 19, the PA Bulletin published a list of proposed regulations for each agency. PA Department of Agriculture had ten: Domestic Animal (December 2014); Weights & Measures (September 2013); Commercial Feed (summer 2014); Pet Food Rules (summer 2014), Fertilizer Regulations (December 2015), Soil & Plant Regulations (December 2015), Clean & Green (August 2014), Conservation Easement Purchase Program (August 2014), PA Preferred (summer 2014), Pesticide Regulations (September 2014). Details: http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-29/1552.html
Opposed by Ag interests
The proposal was vigorously opposed by some agricultural interests such as the PA Farm Bureau. The issue deals with whether or not a new EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ definition of waters regulated by the Federal Government will impact most farmers.
Farm Bureau Asks Rule to Be Withdrawn
PA Farm Bureau asked that the proposed rule be withdrawn because it would allow “the agencies to regulate land activities around small creeks, streams and even ditches that only hold water during heavy rain events”. An EPA link provides an avenue for someone seeking to submit public comment. http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm
• On April 12, the PDA published rules under the Food Safety Act and Food
Employee Certification Act to regulate the certifications of food employees. In
the process, outside government comments were received from the PA Catholic
Conference and PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture. Details:
• PDA published a proposed Rule that would allow it to contract with other
agencies or vendors to administer pesticide applicators’ examinations in addition
to the monthly PDA exams. These outside entities would be able to charge a fee
for this service. The proposed Rule has been sent to the House and Senate
Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committees for review.
Every year, each state cabinet agency is required to post proposed regulations in the PA Bulletin. This year, PDA has eleven. PA Preferred Program rules are expected to be final this month; Pesticide Testing June 2014; Clean and Green April 2014; Agricultural Conservation –Easement Purchase July 2014; Soil & Plant December 2014; Fertilizer December 2014; Pet Rules & Regulations April 2014; Commercial Feed Rules April 2014; Domestic Animal Rules December 2014; Weights & Measures rules were supposed to have been issued September 2013. Details and contact persons for each proposed rule are at http://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-5/255.html.
Pennsylvania agriculture producers seeking risk management protection for crops need to sign up for Crop Insurance by March 15.
Insurable spring crops include corn, grain sorghum, green peas, oats, potatoes, soybeans, spring barley, spring forage seedlings, tobacco, fresh market sweet corn and tomatoes, and beans, sweet corn and tomatoes for processing.
Additional crops might be insured through written agreement. Coarse grain crops like corn, grain sorghum, and soybeans that are planted into established small grain, grass or legumes are insurable if the cover crop is destroyed before the grain crop emerges.
Acreage with a cover crop used for haying and grazing is eligible for prevent-planting payments as long as the use of the cover crop did not prevent the acreage from being planted.
Details: 717-705-9511 or a Crop Insurance agent (Crop Insurance Agents Association of PA 717-346-1063)