AG 101: Understanding PA Farm Operations

AG 101 is a series of online sessions that explore the many facets of farm types, operations management, economics, social aspects, and environmental considerations. The series looks at the multiple dials that Pennsylvania agricultural producers manage as they grow food, fiber, and fuel for their community, state, nation, and world.

AG 101 was developed to enhance the work of  conservation practitioners who are on the front lines supporting producers in choosing, planning, and implementing the best management practices that preserve soil, water, and air quality. However, many other professionals and citizens who interface with producers will benefit from AG 101.

Though Pennsylvania’s towns and cities are connected by vast agricultural landscapes, a majority of Pennsylvanians may be one or more generations removed from family production of food and fiber and less aware of the complex systems our producers manage. AG 101 will familiarize viewers with the state’s primary agricultural operations, the economics of farming, animal and crop species, and the challenge that our producers face on a day-to-day basis.

AG 101 was jointly developed and sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservation Service in collaboration with PennAG Industries and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

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A downloadable flyer that provides a complete listing of descriptions for the sessions available in AG 101: Understanding Pennsylvania Farm Operations and how to access the recordings.

This session explores the diversity, heritage, and current state of the Commonwealth’s agriculture including the types of farm operations, equipment, and landscapes.

Pennsylvania’s producers are at the heart of the farm operation making management choices on a daily basis—each with economic, social, and environmental implications.

Pennsylvania animal systems for production of dairy, swine, beef, and poultry vary in size, approach, and even goals. This session explores feeding, health, welfare, wastes, products, operation scale, marketing, economics, and biosecurity issues.

Equine operations and specialty species (alpacas, goat, bison, veal, etc.) are increasingly common across the Pennsylvania landscape and are often managed for reasons very different from the Pennsylvania livestock producers.

Biosecurity and common sense are critical for visitors to Pennsylvania’s farms. Learn how to best reduce the chances of introducing disease to farms through proper preparation and protection.

Crop production and its range of inputs, care, management, and monitoring are critical to ensure a successful harvest. This session explores the production and identification of forages, grains, and cover crops.

Pennsylvania farms are often the first line of defense in emerging pests such as weeds and insects as well as various diseases and are diligent in managing to reduce losses and ensure farm health.

Pennsylvania's fruit, vegetable and greenhouse production systems are an integral part of the state's agricultural industry.

An overview of Pennsylvania forest systems, agroforestry – and the forest management aspects that Pennsylvania’s producers are also having to operate, small scale and otherwise.

The Special Topics session focuses on issues of increasing importance and significance for PA's producers - including nutrient management, organic systems, and management of vulnerable water resources.