Inside PDA, March 29, 2013

Inside PDA

March 29, 2013

Message from George Greig
Secretary of Agriculture

PA's beef industry is celebrating a milestone today: 40 years of improving genetics through the PA Performance Bull Testing Program. Beef producers from across PA and nearby states will come today to PDA’s Livestock Evaluation Center in Rock Springs, Centre County, to purchase some of the best bulls our region has to offer. Since the first bull test in 1973, the LEC has adapted with advancing technology, offering more info on bulls and enhancing their marketability to potential buyers. Through four decades of careful guidance and foresight, PA has developed the center into a regional hub for improving the beef industry. Our testing program gives producers the opportunity to shop for the bull that’s right for their needs, where they can compare performance on paper and confirmation on hoof and know that the bull they choose will serve them well. Bull videos, a digital catalog and real-time bidding are available on the internet for the sale, which begins at noon. We’re making it easier to stay in the business of raising beef cattle. The bull testing program is just one of the performance-testing programs offered through the center. Whether it’s beef, goatshogs or sheep, there’s a program for each of PA’s major livestock species. As well, the center can be rented for other livestock sales or special events. For now, we’re commemorating a PA tradition, a commitment to improving livestock not just for PA or our neighboring states, but across the nation and around the world.

Judges Announced for 50th All-American Dairy Show

The 2013 All-American Dairy Show will welcome 12 judges to place classes in 14 youth and open shows Sept. 7-12 at the PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Judges are Kelli Cull, Lomira, Wis.; Michael Heath, Westminster, Md.; Steve Hendress, West Lafayette, Ind.; Chris Hill, Thurmont, Md.; Jacob Hushon, Fort Atkinson, Wis.; Chris Lahmers, Marysville, Ohio; Jeremy McDonald, Middletown, Va.; Mark Rueth, Oxford, Wis.; Carrie Chickering-Sears, South Deerfield, Mass.; Steve Shaw, Williamsburg, Pa.; Eric Topp, Botkins, Ohio; Paul Trapp, Taylor, Wis.

Pesticide Applicator Renewal Period Ends Saturday

Private pesticide applicators who still need to renew their 2013 certification should do so before the upcoming March 31 deadline. PDA certifies more than 17,000 growers as pesticide applicators, allowing them to purchase and apply restricted-use pesticides. Applicators can use the PAPlants website to track accreditation, locate continuing education meetings and renew licenses by credit card.

One Week Left in March Dog Licensing Challenge

PA dog owners still have a chance to help service dogs by purchasing a dog license. Earlier this month, Sec. Greig, state dog wardens and pet specialty retailer PetSmart® challenged PA to license 100,000 dogs by April 6 as part of Dog License Awareness Month. If that goal is met, PetSmart will donate $10,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs, a non-profit org that trains and provides service and hearing dogs.

Sec. Greig Speaks With Farm Orgs Across PA

Sec. Greig joined farmers during the annual meeting of the Bedford and Blair County Crop Mgm't Assoc. on Tuesday in Everett, Bedford County. He also spoke to Erie County Farm Bureau members at their spring banquet in Waterford Wednesday evening. At both gatherings, Greig discussed Gov. Corbett's proposed budget, provided an update from PDA and fielded questions from attendees.

Did You Know?

PA farmers help make the state a trout fisherman's paradise. As the trout season opens this weekend in southeastern PA, don't forget that PA growers produce trout for conservation and recreation valued at $9.2 million. PA is third in the nation, distributing 1.8 million pounds of trout to the delight of anglers statewide.

Follow @PA_AgSecretary on Twitter

PDA's Livestock Evaluation Center hosts the PA Performance Bull Test sale today in Rock Springs.

With spring comes new animals, preparations for planting and plenty of chores on farms across PA. See what it's all about at any of PA's farmstays.


Dairy professionals can register online to attend the center’s Dairy PROS meetings April 23-27 for a roundtable discussion about the PA Dairy Futures Analysis, a year-long evaluation of dairy production, processing and consumption trends in PA.


From a youth jackpot beef show to arena football and tractor pulls, the complex shows its flexibility this weekend.


Check out the new PA Preferred™ member video for BWP Bats on YouTube. Share it through Facebook for a chance to win a personalized bat grown and made in PA. PA Preferred™. Made in PA. It makes a difference.


PA harness racing for 2013 is statewide, with Harrah's Philadelphia, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and The Meadows all open for the racing season.

Open Government
Open Government
From the Field
From the Field is a feature spotlighting PDA staff.
Staff Spotlight

“I'm definitely a dog person, not a cat person,” said Megan Horst, Kennel Compliance Specialist with PDA's Dog Law Enforcement Office. Her dogs Lacye, a mixed breed, and Tex, a Rottweiler, would likely agree.

Megan's responsible for ensuring that PA's 52 commercial dog kennels are inspected twice a year and are in compliance. She also investigates any complaints filed about selling or advertising dogs online. That's the other part of her job: handling dog law-related computer crimes.

"I enjoy the opportunity to travel across the state, building working relationships with kennel owners," she said. "I also enjoy interacting with and educating the public during community events."

If she looks familiar, it may be because she's on the cover of PDA's dog law brochure. She's pictured here with Lacye during a dog licensing event earlier this month.

In a typical day, Megan will start by catching up on emails, phone calls and paperwork before meeting a fellow warden to inspect two commercial kennels. She's training more county wardens on how to inspect for kennel compliance. An inspection involves checking for compliance by taking climate data, inspecting the facility and "checking lots of paperwork." Somewhere in the day she will look for people selling dogs online who are not licensed, ensuring they don't exceed the 26-dog threshold for requiring a kennel license.

"There aren't enough hours in the day," Megan said about the tougher aspects of her position. "The paperwork can easily pile up, and I get an occasional funny look and questions when I stop for gas or lunch in my uniform. But that's another chance to educate people about what we do." Megan's a member of the team that's making a difference for dogs and their owners across PA.

Ready, Set, Grow

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