Agriculture Secretary George Greig said Pennsylvania farmers are using innovations that increase productivity and conserve natural resources during a tour of Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Juniata County, as part of National Agriculture Day.
"Pennsylvania's more than 59,300 farm families produced $7.3 billion worth of agriculture products last year, and our communities benefit from that," said Greig. "They're helping feed a growing world while improving practices to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than ever before, and National Ag Day is an opportunity to recognize their hard work."
Steve and Gina Reinford manage Reinford Farms, a 1,100-acre dairy. Sons Chad, Brett and Drew supervise the farm's daily operations.
A manure digester installed in 2008 reduces odors, produces power and complements the farm's conservation tillage program. In addition to receiving food waste from Wal-Mart and GIANT Food Stores, the digester also breaks down each year's Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture. The digester provides energy for the farm and 80 homes.
Part of the farm is preserved through Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program, which has safeguarded 486,628 acres on 4,558 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production.
The farm's crops are planted using no-till techniques and equipment purchased through Pennsylvania's Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP). Last year, equipment purchased and projects installed through the program kept an estimated 4,907 tons of runoff from entering Pennsylvania's waterways. It also kept 433,022 pounds of nitrogen and 19,178 pounds of phosphorus out of waterways and reduced farmers' need for fertilizer.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us