Agricultural Team Leader
In a variety of ways, but in general our mission is to provide technical resources (through our staff) and financial resources (through the various programs we take part in) to help farmers reach their goals and to help protect our shared natural resources. Healthy soils and clean water are vital to the success of a farm and are a benefit to a farm's community. We set out to provide farmers with the resources they need specific to their operation and goals.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Life Science from Penn State and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Pollution Control from Penn State. My master's thesis was titled "The Effects of Land Use Policy on the Rate of Open Space Loss in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed."
I spent a lot of time outdoors growing up, particularly in the woods or along a stream. My master's degree work was more focused on economics and policy, but while I was finishing my thesis, I was able to intern at the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies at Penn State. This experience brought me back to the types of places I spent so much time in as a kid and helped me realize that I could make more of an impact being "in the dirt" as opposed to being in an office.
Yes — the Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP). It's a brand new program that will provide over $5.1 towards best management practice implementation in Chester County over the next few years. With rising material and labor costs it's been financially difficult for farmers to pursue much needed projects, even those who are receiving funding from traditional sources, such as EQIP. ACAP provides a much needed injection of funding at the right time to move these projects forward. More information can be obtained by contacting the Conservation District.
We often talk about the need for plans, such as conservation plans and manure management plans. They're needed for most farms to be in compliance with Pennsylvania law, but they also give the Conservation District the ability to provide design and engineering services at no charge to a farmer. We can write these plans as time allows, but we often point farmers towards private consultants to develop plans. There is a program available now, the PACD Plan Reimbursement Program, that will provide a farmer with an 80% reimbursement on the consultant's fee to complete the plan. This is a great way to have needed plans completed or updated with relatively little expense.