Bill Introduced to Exempt High Tunnels from Storm Water Management Act
LANCASTER – Some townships in Lancaster are requiring that high tunnels constructed within their jurisdictions be subject to storm water planning and engineering requirements. These requirements can cost the nursery or farm constructing the high tunnel thousands of dollars.
In response, Rep. David Zimmerman (R – Lancaster) has introduced HB 1103 that would exempt high tunnels from the planning and regulatory requirements of the Storm Water... (more)
State Budget Process Grinds… Slowly… Forward
HARRISBURG – Work on the state budget is moving at its usual snail’s pace to meet the June 30 deadline. Like a college student who procrastinates writing that term paper until the night before it’s due, the General Assembly won’t get serious about moving budget bills until the middle of June.
But this year is a bit different than previous state budgets. First, without significant cuts or new taxes, the budget has a $2 billion hole. How to fill that hole is the primary... (more)
EPA, Army Corps to Publish Final “Waters of the U.S.” Regs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a year of controversy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced on May 27 that they will publish as final their proposed regulations to define the term “Waters of the U.S.”
This action comes just weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Regulatory Protection Integrity Act (H.R.1732) by a vote of 247-155. Twenty-four Democrats voted with Republicans... (more)
White House Releases Federal Pollinator Health Strategy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House released its Federal Pollinator Health Strategy created by a Pollinator Health Task Force it established in June 2014 in response to the serious decline of pollinator populations in the United States and around the world.
The White House report takes a fairly balanced view on the causes of reduced pollinator numbers. The science suggests multiple factors for the decline in bee health, including parasites, diet and (more)
PLNA Supports Bill to Improve Riparian Buffers
HARRISBURG - The PLNA Government Relations Committee voted to throw its support behind a bill that would repair the damage done to state riparian buffer requirements by Act 162 passed last session by the General Assembly. Act 162 removed the requirement that 150 foot riparian buffers be maintained along high quality and exceptional value streams in Pennsylvania. The new bill, SB 560, was introduced by Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery County) and requires... (more)
PLNA, FFA Plant Forest in House Chamber
HARRISBURG - PLNA and FFA transformed the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives into a forest of white pine seedlings on April 22, Earth Day, to celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day. This year, PLNA members Strathmeyer Forests and Henry Molded Products donated the items for the annual Arbor Day event. Strathmeyer's seedlings were planted in Henry Molded Products recycled/recyclable pots with the help of the Pennsylvania FFA officers. Rep. Ron Marsico (R- Dauphin County)... (more)
Lowe's to Ban Neonics
MOORESVILLE, NC - In April, Lowe’s announced that they will be phasing out neonicotinoids (neonics) in their garden centers. Lowe's said it will phase out neonics in shelf products and plants by the spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available. Lowe’s follows Home Depot who announced last year that they would require their growers to label plants treated with neonics, while they looked into phasing out plants treated with neonics... (more)
H-2B Hits 2015 Cap
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The roller coaster that is the H-2B program slammed into a brick wall on March 26, 2015 when the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the -mandated cap of 66,000 visas for fiscal year 2015 ending September 30, 2015 had been reached. Now that spring is hard on us, many landscape contractors who had been banking on H-2B workers to deliver promised projects will find themselves short of help... (more)
Yet Another E-Verify Bill Introduced
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) Senate Judiciary Committee chairman has introduced a mandatory E-Verify bill. This follows a House bill called the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147) introduced in February by Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Either bill, if passed, would devastate the agricultural workforce in this country. For background, see PLNA e-News April 1, 2015. But it appears that the House bill has been stopped dead in its tracks by a... (more)
Audubon, TreeVitalize Seek Coupon Participants in Southeast PA
Audubon Pennsylvania, the state office of the National Audubon Society, and DCNR have teamed up to offer members a discount coupon redeemable at participating nurseries and garden centers. They are seeking participants in DCNR’s TreeVitalize “Tree’s Count, PA!” coupon program which has been active in central PA but now expands into the southeast where Audubon’s Bird Town program has a potential reach of more than 500,000 residents. The coupon allows for $15 off a tree purchase of $50 or more. Southeast and central PA businesses are sought from these counties ...(more)
Protecting Bees & Pollinator Video Demystifies What Horticulture Needs to Know
WASHINGTON and COLUMBUS, OH - March 26, 2015 - The Horticultural Research Institute, in collaboration with AmericanHort, Society of American Florists, and the American Floral Endowment, released an educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry's essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship.
Titled, "Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know," the video narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment including the use of pesticides, and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy and nurturing pollinator ecosystems.
Click here to see the video and to obtain more information about this important stewardship program.
PDA’s Fertilizer Panel Recommends Removing Professionals from Fertilizer Bill
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) Fertilizer Advisory Board, in a unanimous vote, recommended at its March meeting that lawn care professionals be taken out of the EPA-backed turf grass fertilizer bill, SB 563. The PDA Fertilizer Advisory Board provides advice on fertilizer regulatory issues to the Secretary of Agriculture. Dan Eichenlaub of Eichenlaub, Inc. a PLNA member, serves on the board. Eichenlaub made the motion to take lawn care... (more)
PDA Releases “Final” Draft of New Noxious Weed Law
HARRISBURG – At the March 19th meeting of the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council, PDA released the “final” draft of the new noxious weed law, now renamed the “Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Act.” PLNA is still reviewing the latest draft, but there are new provisions in the bill to bring industrial hemp under the new law. The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes and this draft closely parallels the industrial hemp provisions of... (more)