Leading Pennsylvania’s economy with $5.7 billion dollar in sales each year, Pennsylvania’s future depends on agriculture.

7.7 million acres are devoted to agriculture use and of those 4.2 million acres (54%) are owned by farmers age 55 and over, according to 2007 NASS agriculture statistics. If agriculture is to remain Pennsylvania’s largest industry it’s imperative for these acres to transition to the next generation of farmers.


Farm succession Workshop-Wayne County Conservation District

November 3, 2016

648 Park Street Complex, Honesdale, PA 18431

In partnership with Wayne County Conservation District


9:30 AM                                             Registration

9:40 AM                                            Introductions

9:45 – 10:15 AM                              Farm Succession & Goals & Needs of Farm Family Members

                                                                                                                        Ms. Darlene Livingston, PA Farm Link

10:15 – 10:45 AM                             Financial Challenges of Succession Planning

                                                                                                                        Mr. Jared Grissinger, PA Dept of Agriculture

10:45—11:45 AM                             Business, Legal & Tax Implications of Succession Planning

                                                                                                                        Ag Attorney Patrick Barrett                               

11:45 AM – 12:45 PM                     Lunch provided


12:45 – 1:45 PM                               Breakout Sessions


1:45 – 2:30 PM                                 The Challenges and Successes of Farm Succession

                                                                                                                        Mrs. Darlene Livingston & Facilitators

2:30 – 2:45 PM                                 Evaluation & Farm Family Meeting Opportunities with Facilitators

                                                            *Farms are welcome to meet with a facilitator prior to leaving


In partnership with Wayne County Conservation District


Registration Fee includes lunch: $15.00 for 2 or more from same farm, $18.00 individual

Registration Due: October 31, 2016

Register online at or call 717-705-2121 or by clicking on

PA Farm Link IFTN Certified Succession Coordinators will be available to facilitate farm family meetings for workshop participants.


All registrants receive a copy of: “Planning the Future of Your Farm” workbook, a $10.60 value.


Beginning Farmer Specialty Crop Certification Program

A PA Farm Link Incentive Program For Aspiring New Farmers.

Starting a new farm operation can prove challenging, especially in today’s culture and market place.  PA Farm Link is working on a Beginning Farmer Specialty Crop Certification Program for Beginning or New Farmers looking to find land to lease or purchase through the PA Farm Link database system to use to raise specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops).


Goals for this program are:

To help beginning specialty crop farmers improve their farm operation plans;

Offer accessibility to agricultural educational opportunities;

To assist new specialty crop farmers in finding land appropriate for their farming goals;

To help aspiring new farmers start a farming operation that will have success and be sustainable.


Expectations for certification include:

fCompleting educational programs either online or face-to-face and/or recognition for approved programs already completed.  Agricultural related post-secondary education degrees and/or classes will be recognized.


fExperience working on a farm and/or completion of online courses (examples: PSU Master Gardner, the Horn Farm Center internships, The Seed Farm program)


fCompleting a business plan.  The University of Minnesota offers good resources


fWriting a resume and cover letter


Those who complete this program will have incentive perks through the PA Farm Link database system when attempting to “link entering farmers with landowners”.   We often visit with farm business owners who express the need for interested parties to have goals and experience in farming.  This certification program will aid our new or beginning specialty crop farmers to have an advantage when it comes to linking PFL Entering Farmers to a Landowner. 


Applicants who have already completed programs such as:  AgBiz Masters, Small Farm Dream, PSU Master Gardner, the Horn Farm Center internships, The Seed Farm program or similar incubator programs and who have some type of farming experience will have advanced certification status.


If you are interested in signing up for this program through PA Farm Link please send an email to, subject “Beginning Specialty Crop Farmer Certification Program”.  Interested parties will be sent an application and information required for this program.


** The PA Farm Link Beginning Farmer Certification Program will be based on the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program




Growing Pennsylvania’s Organic Farms Conference

December 13 & 14, 2016

The Sheraton, Harrisburg, PA

"A conference providing in-depth education & updates about organic agricultural practices"

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Gary Zimmer, Midwestern Bio-Ag and author of The Biological Farmer


Gary Zimmer is Co-Founder, President and Chief Visionary Officer of Midwestern BioAg.  Known as the “father” of biological agriculture, Zimmer is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He owns Otter Creek Organic Farm, a family-operated, award-winning 1,000-acre farm near Lone Rock, WI, and has been on the board of Taliesin Preservation Inc. since 2011. Zimmer is the author of two books, The Biological Farmer and Advancing Biological Farming, and numerous articles on soils and livestock nutrition.

Zimmer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in Dairy Nutrition from the University of Hawaii.


Tuesday Dinner Speaker:  Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Family Farm


Jim Gerritsen and his family have owned and operated Wood Prairie Family Farm as an isolated organic farm in Aroostook County, Maine for 40 years.  MOFGA-certified organic since 1982, the Gerritsens grow organic early-generation Maine Certified Seed Potatoes, seed crops, vegetables and grain.  They primarily sell their organic seed crops through a mail order catalog and web-based business to customers in all fifty States. Jim co-founded and has served as longtime President of the national farmer-run membership trade organization, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA).  OSGATA served as lead plaintiff in the landmark Federal lawsuit, OSGATA et al v. Monsanto. In the past, Jim served as President of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and for twenty-five years served on the MOFGA Certification Committee.  Jim was instrumental in helping MOFGA pass Maine’s mandatory GMO Labeling law in 2013, the second such law in the United States.  In 2011, Jim was named one of ‘25 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World’ by Utne Reader.  Jim was a participant in both of the weeklong Agrarian Elders Gatherings in Big Sur, California in 2014 and 2016. Jim spoke in NYC before the United Nations General Assembly in 2014 about the advantages of organic farming.

***photos courtesy of "Lottie Hedley"


Conference Topics Include:


***Dairy: Grass-fed Milk Production                                                                              

***Field Crops: Organic Small Grains, Soils & Agronomy

***Beginner Organic Fruit: Establishing, Growing, Processing & Marketing

***Fruit: Best Cover Crop Options in Fruit Plantings, Organic Mgt. of Pests & Beneficial Insets 

***Vegetable: Growing Potatoes Organically, Managing Diseases & Soil Health, Certified Organic Seed, Potato Production, Best Use of Cover Crops in Vegetables


***GPOF Planning Committee consists of PA organic farmers, as well as representatives from PA Farm Link, Organic Valley, Penn State Extension, PA Dept. of Ag, Rodale, PCO, NRCS, GMO Free PA, & Perdue Agribusiness.


Tentative Schedule:


Tuesday, December 13, 2016                                                         Wednesday, December 14, 2016

8:00 AM-9:00 AM – Registration                                                                                7:15 AM-8:15 AM – Organic Breakfast

8:30 AM-9:45 AM – Exhibit Hall Open                                                                        8:15 AM-10:10 AM – Concurrent Tracks:

9:45 AM-10:00 AM – Welcome & Program Overview                                               *Dairy—Grass-fed Milk Production—continued     

10:00AM-12:00 PM - Concurrent Tracks:                                                                     *Fruit—Best Cover Crop Options in Fruit Plantings

*Dairy—Grass-fed Milk Production                                                                             *Field Crops—Organic Small Grains

*Beginner Organic Fruit—Establishing, Growing, Processing & Marketing             * Vegetable—Certified Seed Potato Production

*Field Crops—Organic Small Grains                                                                           10:10 AM-10:40 AM – Break in Exhibit Hall

*Vegetable—Growing Potatoes Organically                                                               10:40 AM-12:30 PM – Concurrent Tracks:

2:00 PM-1:00 PM – Organic Lunch                                                                              * Dairy—Grass-fed Milk Production

12:30 – 1:30 PM—Keynote speaker -Gary Zimmer                                          *Beginner Fruit—Organic Management of Pest & Beneficial Insects

1:30 PM-2:30 PM – Visit Exhibits                                                                                * Field Crops –Soils & Agronomy

2:30 PM -4:30PM – Concurrent Tracks:                                                                       *Vegetable—Best Use of Cover Crops in Vegetables

*Dairy—Grass-fed Milk Production—continued                                                        12:30 PM—3rd Annual Conference Adjourns       

*Beginner Organic Fruit-Establishing, Growing, Processing & Marketing cont’d.                 

*Field Crops—Soils & Agronomy    

*Vegetable—Managing Diseases and Soil Health                                                                                                                                  

5:00 PM-6:00 PM – Cocktails and Refreshments in Exhibit Hall                                           

6:00 PM-7:00 PM – Organic Dinner                                                                             

7:00 – 8:15 PM– Theme Presentation – Growing the Organic Community Mr. Jim Gerritsen


Additional information on the conference and for registration (dates and fees) will be posted to the GPOF website in the near future:      


***The Sheraton, Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, 4650 Lindle Rd., Harrisburg, PA 17111

Room Block rate: $110. for all rooms (single, double, triple, quad)

Under: Growing Pennsylvania's Organic Farms Conference

First come first served, block rate cut off date: November 21, 2016.

Reservations Dept.:



Extra Day of Giving

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