Greene County Conservation District, Agricultural Programs, Department of Economic Development for Greene County Government, Pennsylvania




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Agricultural Programs
Greene County Conservation District

Department of Economic Development for Greene County


Contact Persons: Laurel Rush, Agricultural Manager
Lisa Snider, District Manager


Fort Jackson Building, Mezzanine
19 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5278 / Fax: 724-852-5341
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m., Monday—Friday

As part of the Greene County Conservation District, our Agricultural Programs plays a very important part to the district and into our farmland communities. We offer various programs to assist the farmers and others interested in agricultural throughout Greene County. The Conservation District is dedicated to assisting the citizens and communities within Greene County to promote wise usage of these natural resources and ensure their availability for future generations. The following list of programs (listed in no preferential order) are offered to residents of Greene County.


Greene County Farmland Preservation Program:
The Easement Purchase program was developed in 1988 to help slow the loss of prime farmland to nonagricultural uses. The program enables state, county, and local governments to purchase conservation easements, sometimes called development rights, from owners of quality farmland... or the Greene County Farmland Preservation Program.

The Farmland Preservation Program is dedicated to protecting valuable farm acreage from development. In 2006 the Greene County Farmland Preservation Board of Directors was established, and bylaws for the County program were developed and adopted. The first conservation easement purchase was finalized in 2008. The Farmland Preservation Board meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month, click here for a listing of current board members.

Click here for the Landowner Application Package. For additional information, go to the PDA Bureau of Farmland Preservation and Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association (PFPA) at www.pafarmland.org.
November 21, 2013 — Greene County Farmland Preservation receives EQT Corporation donation The Greene County Farmland Preservation board recently received a $1,000 donation from EQT Corporation, the company’s second such donation in as many years.

"This will help us with the administration of the Farmland Preservation program,” said Commissioner Archie Trader, who also serves on the Farmland Preservation board. “It’s a great donation, and it certainly helps a lot."

The county’s Farmland Preservation program is dedicated to protecting valuable farm acreage from future non-agricultural development.

Pictured: from l. to r., are Commissioner Archie Trader; Jessica L. Carpenter, EQT community advisor; Laurel Rush, Greene County Conservation District agricultural technician; and Commissioner Chuck Morris..

Agricultural Security Areas (ASA):
The Bureau administers the Agricultural Security Area, or ASA, program at the state level. ASAs are a tool for strengthening and protecting our quality farmland from the urbanization of rural areas.

It is voluntary for farmers/landowners. Petitions are submitted to township supervisors. ASAs are reviewed every seven years; however, new parcels of farmland may be added to an established ASA at any time. A minimum of 250 acres from among all the participating farmers is required. An ASA may include non-adjacent farmland parcels of at least 10 acres or be able to produce $2,000 annually from the sale of agricultural products. Participants receive special consideration regarding:
  • Local ordinances affecting farming activities
  • Nuisance complaints
  • And review of farmland condemnation by state and local government agencies
The Agricultural Security Area Law (ASAL) was enacted in 1981 to encourage landowners and local municipalities to commit to preserving agricultural lands and to protect these Important land classifications from incompatible uses on neighboring lands. The law establishes the authority for municipalities to identify areas of 250 or more acres to be voluntarily enrolled as an Agricultural Security Area (ASA). Land within the district may be owned by more than one person and does not have to be contiguous. The municipality acts as a partner with the landowner to identify and establish ASA’s and must follow such criteria as the land having soils compatible with agricultural purposes, applicability of the ASA to the local municipal comprehensive plan, the current agricultural use or improvement, and the anticipated trends for that land area.

An ASA application process includes a proposal process, public notification, and a review of the ASA on a seven-year basis. Enrollment in an ASA provides limited protection against municipal regulations, eminent domain, and allows the landowner to participate in Pennsylvania’s agricultural conservation easement program. Click Security Documents at here for the ASA Application form.

As of May 2013, Greene County has a total of 76 landowners with 10,109.7 acres enrolled/approved in the ASA program, they include the following:
  • Cumberland Township — 852.7 acres enrolled with 5 landowners
  • Center Township — 1,691.4 acres enrolled with 7 landowners
  • Greene Township — 1,189.14 acres enrolled with 5 landowners
  • Jefferson Township — 429.63 acres enrolled with 4 landowners
  • Morgan Township — 1,604.66 acres enrolled with 8 landowners
  • Washington Township — 2,364.27 acres enrolled with 40 landowners
  • Wayne Township — 1,977.9 acres enrolled with 7 landowners
Act 38 Nutrient Management Program:
Act 38 of 2005 is the result of the Agriculture, communitites, and Rural Environment (ACRE) program unveiled at the 2004 Ag Progress Days, for questions and answers about the Act 38 "ACRE" Program, click here. The Nutrient Management Act (Act 38, 2005) was first enacted in Pennsylvania to place mandatory management controls on farm pollution in an effort to reduce environmental pollutants and improve water quality (DCED, 2003).

The Nutrient Management Act regulates land application of manure in order to control non-point source pollution as well as setting standards for defining Concentrated Animal Operations (high animal density operations), as well as regulates the import / export and haulers of manure. Nutrient Management Plans are one requirement of the Nutrient Management Act. A nutrient management plan helps to establish best management practices for agricultural operations. Among the topics included in a plan are crop rotation and tillage, and manure testing, storage, and spreading procedures. A nutrient management plan will outline the actions that a farmer will follow to comply with the Nutrient Management Act. Such regulations include identifying balanced application rates for manure and other nutrients based on soil tests and crop removal rates, establishing minimum standards for manure storage, and record keeping requirements. Click here for more about the PA Nutrient Management Program.

The Greene County Conservation District (GCCD) provides technical assistance and program administration for Act 38 Nutrient Management Law. The GCCD reviews and approves nutrient management plans, provides assistance for plan implementation, handles manure related complaints and maintains a current list of certified nutrient management planners for Greene County.

Manure Management Program:
Every farm in Pennsylvania that land applies manure or agricultural process wastewater, regardless of size, is required to have and implement a written Manure Management Plan. This includes mechanical application by various types of equipment and /or direct application of manure by animals on pastures and in Animal Concentration Areas (ACA’s). A copy of the Manure Management Manual which includes a copy of the Manure Management Plan Workbook can be obtained at the Greene County Conservation District office or can be found on the PA DEP website.

2/10/2014 NEWS RELEASE
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 — Conservation District hosting MANURE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

Farmers and livestock owners are encouraged to attend a manure management workshop scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. Hosted by the Greene County Conservation District, the workshop will be held in the second-floor conference room of the Greene County Office Building at 93 E. High St., Waynesburg. The workshop is free to attend, although registration is required by Friday, Feb. 21. Click here for additional information (2/10/2014 News Release)

Agricultural Conservation Technical (ACT) Services:
The GCCD provides technical assistance for the County’s agricultural community with the experienced Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field team for Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties. We also provide conservation and grazing plans for resource management systems on farms throughout the tri-county area. We work cooperatively to provide survey design and layout for best management practice installation using NRCS engineering job approvals to certify practices that are installed to Pennsylvania Technical standards guide. To request assistance from your Conservation District, click here for the Cooperator Agreement form. Additional online information can be found at the USDA-NRCS website and the PA Dept of Agriculture, NRCS website.

Southwest PA Project Grass — "Grazing at it's Best"
Project Grass focuses on increasing grassland productivity while minimizing the environmental impact from farming through a partnership between farmers and the conservation district.

Grazing Group/Pasture Walks — promotes the Project Grass program to citizens and other farmers through field day events.

A Project Grass Coordinating Committee was form for the purpose of promoting improved pasture systems and rotational grazing systems for better forage production, quality, and utilization. The committee hold meetings every other month, which are attended by the Conservation District staff and agricultural producers. Four broad objectives have been identified for the committee:
  1. Enhance Pennsylvania agriculture through better utilization of grasslands.
  2. Improve the economic position of Pennsylvania farmers, particularly small farms.
  3. Increase the amount of livestock production in the Commonwealth to increase energy efficiency and develop improved marketing capabilities for cattle, sheep, hay, and other livestock.
  4. Achieve better utilization of land and water resources for improved environmental quality.
In 2012, unfortunately there was no grant funding available for projects; however the committee did host the SWPA Grazing Conference in Indiana PA, drawing 150 livestock producers to attend. It is proposed that this conference be held every other year and rotate throughout the region.

For information on the annual Southwest Pennsylvania Project Grass Conference, go to www.swprojectgrass.com.

Lime Spreader Rental Program:
Applying lime to pasture and hay fields is one of the simplest management decisions to make. Increasing soil pH can increase forage yields and palatability, with relatively low cost to the producer. In 2011, the program’s third season, the lime spreader was rented to three producers, spreading 198 tons of lime on pastures throughout Greene and Washington counties.

The Conservation District has purchased a 20-ton wet lime spreader sized to be more accommodating to our hilly topography. The application of lime is usually the cheapest way of improving the quality of forage for an extended period of time. The Conservation District has created this program for the purpose of being user-friendly regarding cost as well as results.

As livestock production in the region has transitioned into more grass-based rotational grazing systems, the need for lime to help support quality forage production has become imperative, but a producer’s ability to get lime where and when they need has been reduced. A spreader of this size is easier to use on steep ground and more maneuverable in smaller pasture paddocks. Our specific machine is equipped with surge brakes and a longer axle to provide better control and stability.

To rent the GCCD lime spreader, you must complete the Lime Spreader Rental Agreement, provide proof of insurance, and pay a $50 deposit. The standard rental period is three days, and the final rental charge is based on total tons of lime spread. To receive your deposit back, you must return the machine clean and undamaged. Click here for the Lime Spreader Rental User Agreement.

Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program:
The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Program allows farmers and businesses to earn tax credits in exchange for planning, sponsoring or implementing "Best Management Practices" (BMPs) on agricultural operations that will enhance farm production and protect natural resources. Farmers can also receive tax credits for conversion or upgrading to a No-till cropping system.

Click here for "What's New FY 2013-14 Program - Resource Enhancement & Protection. Other REAP documents: REAP Guidelines and Application Form with instructions. For additional information go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture webpage and click on Programs for a search of available information.

GCCD Water Quality Mini-Grant Program:
The purpose of the Water Quality Mini-Grant Program is to supplement state and federal grant/ incentive programs or private funds specifically designated to offset costs associated with the implementation/installation of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) designed to prevent erosion, mitigate non-point source nutrient and sediment run-off, and generally improve downstream water quality. Reimbursements will cover on–the–ground project costs only; no administrative costs or in-kind contributions from the applicant will be paid. The projects to be funded must be specifically related to water quality improvement. Click here for mini grant application program policy and application form.

Local Agricultural Resources:
Local Agricultural Links:
Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Do I need a Manure Management Plan?
      Yes if you produce or handle manure in any quantity on your property PA DEP requires you to have a written and implemented manure management workbook on site. You can receive a workbook free from the conservation district.

  • Do I need a Conservation Plan?
      Yes if you are plowing or tilling – including no-till – and /or if you have Animal Concentration Areas (ACA’s) on your farming operation you are required, at minimum, to have a written and implemented agricultural erosion and sedimentation control plan. An approved USDA-NRCS conservation may also meet this requirement.

For general information, please contact the Information Services
at 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399
Greene County Office Building, 93 E. High Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370

 

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