Manure Du Jour
Serving Pennsylvania's Best Practices on Animal Ag. Air, and Water Quality
By Kristen Saacke-Blunk
Photo courtesy of USDA-NRCS.
In January 2009, Penn State Cooperative Extension and its Agriculture and Environment Center debuted the Manure du jour webcast series in response to findings of the 2008 Agriculture in Balance conference. At the conference, Pennsylvania’s agriculture and environment stakeholders – including agencies, legislators, farmers, and conservation interests – identified the need for increasing the communication of best management practices and the science behind them as a means for improving environmental outcomes. Now with 25 Manure du jour episodes available with the 2010 Season II additions, and six more planned for the remainder of 2010, the webinar series has significantly enhanced access to the research and application of best management practices – both core and innovative – that are essential to working lands conservation.
Modeled in the spirit of the outstanding webcasts sponsored by the National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center, Penn State tailored its webinar series for Pennsylvania’s practitioners who work on the front line in support of conservation on working lands including the conservation districts, Pennsylvania’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, agricultural consultants, environmental and agricultural non-governmental organizations, state agencies, and Extension’s own educators and specialists.
By tailoring topics of national and regional interest to Pennsylvania practitioners, organizers offer information addressing the priority issues of professionals taking the lead in increasing conservation at the farm level. Positive response from partner agencies -- particularly the State Conservation Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, NRCS, and county conservation districts -- made it clear that the product and electronic delivery met training and information needs – in a way that preserves limited travel dollars.
The Penn State team that created the webinar series crosses multiple disciplines – drawing from the Agricultural and Biological Engineering-, Dairy and Animal Science-, and Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology departments with information technology specialist support from the College of Agricultural Sciences. But the key to the program format has been to deliver information that is research-based and ready to hit the ground, so that practitioners are able to leave the one hour programs with specific information for integrating the tools into their work.
What's on the menu for Season II of Manure du jour?
The 2010 season of this Pennsylvania-grown webinar series has offered an array of choices – ranging from research on alternative and innovative manure application technologies, to waste-to-energy systems, GIS-based decision support tools for adaptive management, to the movement of estrogen through soils and water. Season II highlights include:
What’s ahead for Manure du jour?
Mark your calendar for this upcoming Manure du jour topic (NOTE: Participation in the live session will require a free Friends of Penn State digital identity in advance of the session. Recordings can be viewed at anytime at the Penn State Agriculture and Environment.)
Emerging Policy Issues for Pesticide Use on the Farm Thursday, July 1, 2010, 1:30 to 2:30 PM. John Becker, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Law will explore the implications of recent US Supreme Court rulings about the application of pesticides by farmers in vicinity of water resources – what the Clean Water Act does and does not require and the national dialogue around when a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is and is not required.
The full calendar, including past episodes, can be viewed at the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center website.