Recently, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance announced that it is beginning a program that makes its 13-member board of directors available for speaking engagements at state conservation events. The speakers are available free of charge for all counties of the commonwealth.

This is an admirable effort on behalf of one of the nation’s more active no-till groups in a state where no-till practices are used to plant over 60% of all crops.

“We’re making ourselves available to local conservation districts and other soil health entities who call on us to present at their events,” says Jim Hershey, president of the no-till group.

Hershey is one of the presenters available, along with other notable Pennsylvania no-tillers and cover crop users, such as Steve Groff, Jim Harbach, Lucas Criswell and Leroy Bupp.

Speakers will cover a range of topics from basic no-till principles and cover crop usage to the most cutting-edge practices being used. They’ll also explain the interrelationship between these methods, their effects on soil health and, ultimately, the benefits to water quality.

Many of these board members have 20-plus years of no-till experience on their own farms and nearly as many years incorporating cover crops into their programs. In addition, they continue to experiment with some of the newest practices, such as planting green, cover crop mixes and the most effective crop rotations.

This effort is made possible by grants from the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale, Pa. Stroud’s primary mission is the preservation and restoration of fresh water, which dovetails perfectly with improved soil health and water infiltration benefits of long-term no-till.

The group’s focus of any presentation can be flexible, depending on the interests of the sponsoring organization. Anyone interested in scheduling a speaker should email Jay Howes, administrative coordinator of the alliance, at