Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is dedicated to restoring Pennsylvania waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, especially by working with agricultural producers to improve profitability and to keep soil and nutrients on the land, rather than in waterways.
This non-governmental organization partners with farmers to reduce erosion and runoff from farmland by installing livestock fencing, planting forested stream buffers, managing rotational grazing, and establishing other conservation practices. CBF also conducts farmer outreach and educational activities with the goal of building soil organic matter and enhancing soil health, reducing soil erosion, nutrient, pesticide loss, and stormwater runoff to local streams draining to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends, and in Pennsylvania, a key piece of that is working with agribusinesses and farmers to promote advanced nutrient stewardship and soil health practices.
Our Chesapeake Bay team works throughout the Bay watershed to support practices that help to achieve our ambitious water quality goals while also providing economic benefits to farmers.
Our work focuses on the value of partnerships, such as that of the Soil Health Coalition, to achieve greater impact than we would have as one organization.
The Nature Conservancy serves as a board member for both the Pennsylvania 4R Alliance (see below) and the Mid-Atlantic 4R Association. We actively engage in the support and implementation of in-field soil health and nutrient management practices as well as edge of field practices such as stream and wetland restoration.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is a community of farmers, food system professionals, and sustainable agriculture supporters working to cultivate environmentally sound, economically viable, and community-focused farms and food systems.
Our ongoing Soil Health Benchmark Study, which was initiated in 2016, is the most diverse soil health community science project in the nation, enabling us to synthesize and share soil health insights among a wide range of production systems on working farms across the Mid-Atlantic region.
In 2020, we began developing a Soil Health Policy Roadmap for advancing government funding and legislation that supports soil conservation on farms.
Penn State Extension
The Penn State Extension Agronomy Team includes a group of on-campus specialists, county-based extension educators and support staff whose programming includes soil health, no-till, cover crops and grazing.
Our recent work has focused on adding value to cover crops including planting green, interseeding and incorporating cover crops into grazing systems. We cooperate with a variety of partners including cash grain and horticultural growers, grazers, organic operators, federal, state and local agencies staff and non-profits.
Our outreach activities include a winter workshop series, topic-focused field days, cover crop demonstrations, one-on-one outreach and online content available to growers off all sizes and experience levels.
PA Association of Conservation Districts
The Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. (PACD) works to enhance locally led efforts that support the wise use of the state’s natural resources. The PACD primarily serves as the collective voice for Pennsylvania’s 66 county conservation districts.
Over the years the Association has played an integral part in shaping the modern conservation district by providing advocacy, education and training, program coordination and facilitation to districts and their constituents.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture exists to ensure a vibrant economy, a successful future for Pennsylvania agriculture, and to safeguard the public through targeted investments to grow opportunities and remove barriers; protecting human, animal, environmental, and plant health through regulatory oversight; promotion of and education about Pennsylvania’s agriculture products and sectors; and conserving farmland and natural resources for the prosperity of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition
PA No-Till Alliance 10th Anniversary
The Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition (PAGLC), is a farmer-led association of people working together to maintain and improve the management, productivity, and health of Pennsylvania’s privately-owned grazing land. We address the needs of grazing and forage lands in Pennsylvania through education, mentorship, and research.
PA GLC works directly with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) which provides funding and technical assistance for some of our programs that raise public awareness about the benefits of pasture-raised livestock operations. With a variety of members and technical advisors we support research, training, and education that help to bridge the gap between knowledge and application of grazing technologies on the land, including soil health. More and more livestock farmers are switching to rotational grazing as a way to save money, restore pasture lands, increase herd health, decrease soil runoff and improve soil regenerative features. The result is greater profitability on an ecologically sound and sustainable basis.
Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance
The Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance (PANTA), is a farmer-led organization that assists other farmers with the transition to no-till and cover crop planting. Their vision is using no-till systems to improve soil quality, productivity and profitability for future generations.
Through field days, regional meetings, small town hall events, and one-to-one advising, the organization focuses on farmer-to-farmer education that emphasizes the numerous benefits of soil health practices and managing farms using a systems approach. Their mission is to promote the successful application of no-till through shared ideas, experiences, education and new technology.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, not only helping the environment but agricultural operations, too.
NRCS works closely with these landowners through voluntary, incentive-based conservation to ensure private lands are productive, economically profitable, and more resilient to environmental challenges. Created to address the environmental devastation of the Dust Bowl, America made a historic commitment to the stewardship of natural resources through the work of NRCS.
From soil biologists to geologists and engineers, our experts work with landowners in the field to develop conservation plans, create and restore wetlands and wildlife habitat, ensure healthy and productive soils and manage animal and nutrient waste. We are committed to “helping people help the land” and ensuring that cleaner air and water are enjoyed now and for generations to come.
Rodale Institute is a nonprofit research institution focused on growing the organic movement through rigorous research, farmer training, and consumer education.
Widely considered the global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, Rodale Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers, scientists, and consumers throughout the world since 1947.
Rodale Institute is home to the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic vs. conventional farming practices (Farming Systems Trial, started in 1981), and our research focus areas include developing organic solutions to improving soil health, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and growing nutrient dense foods.
Soil and Water Conservation Society, Keystone Chapter
The Keystone Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society is a multi-disciplinary membership organization, which advocates for the protection, enhancement and sustainable use of soil, water and natural resources.
Since 2018, the Keystone Chapter has offered mini-grants to support cover crop implementation and education. Society members have a wide range of technical experience to support and partner with other organizations.
State Conservation Commission
The Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission’s primary mission is to ensure the wise use of Pennsylvania's natural resources; and to protect and restore the natural environment through the conservation of its soil water and related resources.
Through the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program and the Conservation Excellence Grant (CEG) program, the State Conservation Commission (SCC) directly assists farmers by providing funding for a wide variety of water quality and soil health best management practices such as cover crops, no-till equipment, soil health testing, and nutrient management.
The SCC also provides support and oversight of Pennsylvania’s 66 county conservation districts.
Steve Groff's Cover Crop Coaching
Steve Groff is a farmer, author, consultant and speaker known internationally for his work in cover-crops and no-till agriculture.
Steve has a history of innovating and pioneering in the area of no-till, cover cropping and environmentally healthy farming practices. He designed the first roller-crimper in North America that makes cover cropping practical and effective. He developed the Tillage Radish, a unique cover crop that helps infuse the soil with rich nutrients. And he was the first commercial farmer to no-till transplant tomatoes.
Innovations like these have led him to be sought out locally in the southeast Pennsylvania region, as well as nationally and internationally as a consultant and speaker, particularly as sustainability practices are becoming a required necessity by global food supply chains.
Stroud Water Resource Center
Since 1967, Stroud™ Water Research Center has focused on one thing — fresh water. They seek to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration.
Their Watershed Restoration Group works hand in hand with landowners, helping them use their land more effectively through whole-farm planning and watershed stewardship. In return for program services, landowners are asked to install forested buffers on streams on their properties and to allow ongoing access to their sites to gather the scientific data from these efforts.
They support soil health efforts as a way for farms to be more resilient and profitable, while reducing soil and nutrient runoff and improving local water quality.
The Pennsylvania 4R Alliance is an association of agribusinesses, government agencies, research institutions, NGOs, and trade organizations that come together to support the concept of 4R Nutrient Stewardship in PA.
This concept encompasses nutrient management practices that focus on applying the Right Nutrient Sources for the crop, at the Right Time for crop uptake, at the Right Place for crops to access the nutrients, and at the Right Rate to avoid over- or under-application.
This suite of practices serves to improve nutrient use efficiency, which supports farmers economically, while also reducing nutrient losses to the environment. Our diverse members bring together a unique forum to discuss the advancement of these practices in Pennsylvania.