Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pennsylvania MarketMaker

I am excited to announce that Penn State Cooperative Extension is partnering with several organizations to launch Pennsylvania MarketMaker, an online tool to connect buyer and sellers within the food industry.  The tool provides access to free, in-depth marketing information to help farm and food business owners find markets for their products throughout Pennsylvania and other participating states.  It also helps those businesses who wish to buy locally-produced foods to do so.  (See the end of this note for a brief description of how MarketMaker relates to AgMap.)  Registration and use is completely free of charge. Our registration site is at: http://pa.foodmarketmaker.com.  The national MarketMaker system is being promoted to national restaurant, grocery, and other retail/wholesale associations.


Pennsylvania MarketMaker will provide users with a rich source of demographic and business data to help buyers and sellers find each other.  Here’s what users will be able to do with Pennsylvania MarketMaker:


·         Access demographic profiles of target markets.

·         Locate buyers and sellers within a target region in a map-based format.

·         Connect with potentially thousands of buyers and sellers quickly through the Buy & Sell Forum.


To better understand MarketMaker’s functionality, you may want to visit one or more state sites.  Find them at http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/.  For a demo, see:  http://ny.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/content/all/tutorials/Mapping_tutorial1.html.  Also, we will be scheduling one or more (depending upon demand) web-based trainings to highlight some of its uses.


Before Pennsylvania MarketMaker has the search capabilities you will see on other sites, we must populate the database with agricultural and food producers.  While many businesses within the food industry can be obtained through third-party databases (which will be added), we need to populate the database with agricultural producers.  We are developing relationships with PDA, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and other organizations to contact producers, but our mailing lists within Extension are a critical element to this plan.  I can help you connect with them by providing content for newsletters, postage and content to send dedicated mailings to your lists, etc.  We have a goal of 250 registrants before we go live.  With help from you and our partner organizations, we should achieve that quickly.


To learn more about MarketMaker, follow this link to an online survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mm01.  It simply asks if you want to be included on a listserv that I am creating to communicate within Extension.  It also allows you to ask a question or provide a comment about Pennsylvania MarketMaker.


About MarketMaker and AgMap

There is some similarity between Pennsylvania MarketMaker and AgMap, developed by Dr. Rick Day in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences.  MarketMaker is not a replacement for AgMap, but rather complements it.  AgMap is an excellent resource for facilitating business-to-consumer interactions, while MarketMaker best serves business-to-business connections.  A given producer may well want to register on both to reach a broad audience of consumers and businesses.  Furthermore, a large portion of AgMap’s database includes support services, such as consultants, attorneys, accountants, etc. for farm managers.  This is a real strength of AgMap relative to MarketMaker.  Rick and I have agreed to work together to benefit both tools since both benefit Pennsylvania producers.


Jeffrey Hyde

The Pennsylvania State University
210-B Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802
Office: 814-865-5666


Thursday, May 6, 2010


Attention plant lovers!  The Penn State Master Gardeners of Wayne County will be hosting their annual May Plant Sale on Saturday, May 15th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Please come by the Fred Miller Pavilion on Main Street in Honesdale for great deals on perennials, annuals, herbs, and shrubs.  Master Gardeners will be there to answer any of your gardening questions, plus soil test kits will be available for purchase.  

Come buy for the new, the unusual, and perhaps just to chat about gardening in Northeastern Pennsylvania!

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Workshop on Rain Gardening Offered 4/14

The Penn State Master Gardeners in Wayne County will hold a rain gardening workshop on Wednesday, April 14 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Park Street Complex, 648 Park Street, Honesdale.


The workshop will cover eco-friendly residential landscaping techniques including native plants, storm water conveyance, plant placement, plant selection and rain gardens. The talk will then narrow and specifically discuss the placement, construction and maintenance of rain gardens and rain barrels. Leading the workshop will be Mr. Paul Bechtel, an environmental engineer with McLane Associates.


To register, call the Cooperative Extension office in Honesdale at 570-253-5970 x 4110 or email WayneExt@psu.edu. Admission is $5.00, payable on the day of the workshop, children under 18 are free


Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.


Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have any questions about the physical access provided, please contact David Messersmith at (570) 253-5970 ext. 4110 in advance of your participation or visit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tips on Growing Healthy Tomatoes

University Park, Pa. -- Last year an epidemic of late blight disease on tomatoes not only forced many home gardeners to throw out their plants, but also threatened the crops of thousands of growers throughout the state. Along with cool, wet weather, the distribution of infected plants through big-box stores spurred along the widespread outbreak.

Led by Beth Gugino, Penn State assistant professor of plant pathology, the University responded with targeted, timely information to Extension educators, growers, master gardeners and the media. Among the advice was to throw out the plants and move on -- eating a tomato from an infected plant is generally discouraged, and canning carries the risk of botulism.

With springtime approaching, Gugino offers some tips that home gardeners can start thinking about now.

-- Kill the Potatoes. The disease hits spuds, too, and while the winter will kill off any infected tomato plants, potato tubers can survive the cold and therefore, so can the pathogen. Make sure potato plants are pulled up and thrown out in the trash (if composted improperly, the potatoes can be a source of the disease this year).

-- Rotate crops. Arrange your garden so that you rotate out of a plant family for two to three years. For example, the nightshade plants include eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. "The idea behind rotation is that many pathogens tend to be problems on multiple members in a given plant family, not just individual crops," said Gugino.

-- Avoid Overhead irrigation. It's best to water from below to keep leaves as dry as possible. This helps prevent the spread of the fungus as well as other common tomato diseases. If you only have access to overhead irrigation, water by mid-morning so leaves dry quickly.

-- Plant healthy transplants. There was a gardening boom last year (seed companies reported an increase in sales) and infected transplants were sold. Look at transplants for unhealthy characteristics such as pale green or brown lesions.


Considerations When Negotiating a Pipeline Right-of-Way

What is a pipeline right-of-way?

A pipeline right-of-way is a strip of land over and around natural gas pipelines where some of the property owner's legal rights have been granted to a pipeline operator. A right-of-way agreement between the pipeline company and the property owner is also called an easement and is usually filed in the county Register & Recorders office with property deeds. Rights-of-ways and easements provide a permanent, limited interest in the land that enables the pipeline company to install, operate, test, inspect, repair, maintain, replace, and protect one or more pipelines within the designated easement. The agreement may vary the rights and widths of the right-of-way, but generally, the pipeline company's rights-of-way extend 25 feet from each side of a pipeline unless special conditions exist.


Right of Condemnation or Eminent Domain

In Pennsylvania, eminent domain or right of condemnation generally only applies to transmission lines, or lines moving gas longer distances between two or more states.


Individual gathering lines (pipelines running between well sites, compressor units and metering stations) are not subject to eminent domain, and the pipeline operator must negotiate easements with each individual landowner along the pipeline route.


There is a provision in Pennsylvania that allows operators of a ‘public utility’ to use eminent domain to secure pipeline easements. In the event of an eminent domain proceeding, the landowner will be compensated by the court or regulatory authority at a fair market value for the easement.


Pipeline Identification

Pipeline markers are located along the path of a gas pipeline. These markers identify the general location of the pipeline and list the products transported, the operator’s name and the emergency contact number. Pipeline markers do not identify the exact location of the pipeline, so it is critical that landowners contact the One Call Center prior to any excavation near the pipeline easement.


Right of Way Maintenance

Pipeline operators will regularly conduct aerial and ground inspections to check right-of-way conditions, test for leaks, install and maintain pipeline makers and to clear brush that restricts access to the right-of-way or visibility during inspections. Rights of way are kept clear of trees, brush and other obstructions so the pipeline operator can safely operate, inspect, maintain and repair its pipelines.


Property Use Restrictions

If you are negotiating a right of way easement on your property, you should be aware of the pipeline operator’s guidelines for property use and construction near natural gas pipelines and equipment. Generally, property owners are prohibited from installing any structures, storing anything that could be an obstruction, or planting trees or shrubs along the right of way. Unauthorized building or planting in the pipeline right-of-way is known as right-of-way encroachment.


Normal gardening and agricultural activities are generally acceptable. However you should never dig or construct anything within the easement without first having a pipeline representative mark the pipeline, stake the right of way and explain the company’s construction guidelines


Negotiating a Right of Way Agreement

Easement agreements are formal legal agreements granting the operator long-term use of the right-of-way. A change in ownership of the property does not alter the easement agreement. Because easement agreements are legally binding contracts, landowners are encouraged to have the contract reviewed by an attorney who is knowledgeable in PA oil and gas law and experienced in reviewing right of way agreements before entering into any contract.


Many aspects of a pipeline easement are negotiable. Typically a pipeline representative will present the landowner with a pre-printed agreement. This document can serve as a starting point for a two-way negotiation, or it can be fully accepted or rejected by the landowner. You can make changes to the easement by creating an addendum that is approved by both parties


Below are is sampling of considerations that may be included in a pipeline agreement or addressed with an addendum:

·         Width of the permanent easement and time line for completion of construction.

·         Define the nature and width of temporary construction easement.

·         Require identification of any independent and sub-contractors that the pipeline company will use and make the pipeline company responsible and liable for all acts on your property by independent and sub-contractors.

·         Require the pipeline company to indemnify the landowner from the acts and omissions of the independent and sub-contractors.

·         Define and limit access to both permanent and temporary easements.

·         Specify payments for trees, crops, etc damaged during the installation of the pipeline.

·         Specify re-seeding of easements and what types of grasses and other improvements, stating the amount of time following completion of construction for surface restoration to be completed.

·         Identify all stream crossings, state methods of stream crossings, and require restoration of stream crossings after construction.

·         Require that landowner be provided an “as constructed” survey of the easement with an official seal by the surveyor within a stated period of time following completion of construction.

·         Specify replacement or installation of fencing and gates, stating which gates will have locks and nature of the locks.

·         Limit number of keys or number of persons with lock combinations.

·         Identification of a named person at the pipeline company who will be landowner’s contact. Require the pipeline company to give 30 days prior notice to landowner of any such change in contact person or related contact information.

·         Define access post-construction to the easement with specific method and location of all access roads and methods.

·         Prohibition or limitation of surface appurtenances to the pipeline.

·         Requirement of minimum depth to top of buried pipeline and requirement that this minimum depth be maintained at all times.

·         Termination of the lease by stated number of days of no use of the pipeline.

·         Define “abandonment” of the pipeline as a termination of easement event and require the pipeline company to remove all abandoned pipeline.

·         Require prior landowner consent for any assignment of the easement to another party.

·         Limitation of the easement to one pipeline of a stated diameter, with no right to install additional pipelines and no right to increase the diameter of the pipeline.

·         Require the same post-construction restoration of surface for pipeline repairs as for original construction.

·         Reserve the right to seek surface damages for pipeline repairs as for the initial installation.

·         Confirm whether gas to be transported will be scented or unscented.

·         Make sure that the permanent and temporary easements are by metes and bounds descriptions and with official surveys – pre-construction and post-construction (as-built survey).

·         Choose an alternative dispute resolution method that makes it’s the cheapest, quickest, and least burdensome way to resolve conflicts between landowner and the pipeline company.

·         Consider what surface uses by the landowner will be prohibited, if any, of the easement.


Value of Rights of Way

Payments to landowners for granting right of way easements can be quite variable between pipeline operators and from location to location. Most payments involve set dollar amount per linear foot (or per ‘rod’ which is 16.5 feet). In Pennsylvania, easement agreements have ranged from less than $5.00 per linear foot to more than $25.00 per linear foot. Some pipeline operators will also offer a ‘signing bonus’ (a fixed dollar amount for signing an easement agreement) in addition to the payment per linear foot. Be sure to get the amount and terms of payments in writing before signing an easement agreement.


Extension’s Role

Penn State Cooperative Extension provides educational resources for landowners about Marcellus shale and the natural gas leasing and exploration process. County Extension offices may host an educational workshop, discuss leasing arrangements, or refer you to regulatory or legal specialists.


Although extension educators cannot provide legal advice, they can provide additional insights about leasing and right of way considerations.


For more information about Marcellus shale, natural gas development, leasing and pipeline rights of way visit: http://naturalgas.extension.psu.edu


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Visit the new Wayne County 4-H Blog

The 4-H program in Wayne County now has their own blog! Check them out at: http://wayneextension4-h.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wayne County Corn Day Scheduled

Penn State Cooperative Extension in cooperation with Honesdale Farm & Garden, Cochecton Mills, Seedway and Helena Chemical invite all area farmers to the 2009 Wayne County Corn Day on September 18 at the Hank Curtis Farm in Waymart.

Featured at the 2009 Corn Day is a corn silage variety trial consisting of 15 silage varieties, planted side-by-side for easy comparison. Participants will have the opportunity to walk through the trial and evaluate each variety. Seed company representatives will be on hand to show their varieties and discuss new corn genetics for the 2010 growing season.

The event will run from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM, with a free lunch provided to all attendees. The Hank Curtis farm is located on Cavage Road, just off route 6 between Prompton and Waymart. Contact Dave Messersmith at the Extension office at 570-253-5970 x 4110 for more information.

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.