Thursday, May 29, 2008

$2 Million Committed for PSU Silvicultural Research

Penn State alumnus and pioneer forester Joseph E. Ibberson has committed $2 million to endow a new faculty chair in the School of Forest Resources, part of the College of Agricultural Sciences. Ibberson, of Harrisburg, is a 1947 Penn State graduate in forestry and retired chief of the division of forest advisory services of Pennsylvania's Department of Forests and Waters. The gift will create the Joseph E. Ibberson Chair in Silviculture Research for Pennsylvania, which will focus on the challenges of forest management under changing conditions and the evolving needs of society. "I consider this chair an investment that will help protect and improve our state's forest resources," said Ibberson. "But I also hope to inspire others to be philanthropic in areas that are of the most interest to them."

For the full story go to:
You can also find out more about Mr. Ibberson by reading his biography: A Forester's Legacy, The Life of Joseph E. Ibberson; Forester, Tree Farmer, Philanthropist. You can find the book for sale on
Mr. Ibberson has also donated a 350 acre parcel of ground in Dauphin County the DCNR Bureau of State Parks as a "Conservation Area." To find out more about the Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area go to:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tree Farm Forestry Field Day

The Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program is sponsoring the second annual celebration of the State Tree Farmer of the Year (STFOTY), the Olver family, will be held Saturday, May 31st at Tall Timbers Tree Farm from 10 AM to 3 PM. Craig, Janet, and Tara Olver were named STFOTY in September 2007. They are also one of three finalists in the 2008 Northeast Regional Tree Farmer of the Year competition. Tall Timbers Tree Farm is 566 acres of beautifully maintained working forest located northeast of Honesdale, Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

The Olvers, in conjunction with the Wayne-Lackawanna Forest Landowners Association, are hosting the event which will include a tour of some of the property, a horse logging demonstration, exhibition of the logging equipment used on the farm, and a tree felling and crown thinning demonstration. There is a $12 charge for adults, $20 per couple, $6 for children age 6-17, and younger children are free. Lunch will be a pig roast. Pre-registration is required! Contact Jean Smith at 570-224-4848 or email Directions will be provided to registrants.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Food vs. Fuel

I received this article in my e-mail today. Thought I would share it with my readers. it is written by Murray Campbell, CEO of First United Ethanol Incorporated. It trys to clear up may of the misconceptions concerning the use of corn for ethanol production and the current high food costs. Enjoy.

Indiana Ag Director: Food vs. Fuel Hype Requires Rational Intervention

Pick up any publication today and you will see alarming claims about corn-ethanol driving the world into famine. Two years ago, the same publications were heralding ethanol as the savior of America's energy crisis. The truth is somewhere in between, and it is time for a calm, rational analysis of ethanol's contributions and limitations. The best way to begin a rational discussion is to address some of the biggest myths about ethanol.

Myth #1 -- Ethanol is a perfect fuel and is the "silver bullet" the U.S. needs.
• Ethanol is one part of our overall energy strategy to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Ethanol is on track to displace approximately 10 percent of U.S. fuel usage.
That's a big deal. At current crude prices, that means more than $35 billion staying in the United States instead of going to OPEC.
• But, there is no "silver bullet" for our nation's energy crisis.
Ethanol does have some real issues, like transportation of the finished product and the impact on other corn-based industries. But the biggest challenge is addressing these issues with innovative ideas. Too many in the industry want to rationalize the issues away, looking instead through rose-colored glasses.

Myth #2 - Ethanol is driving a world famine and record food prices.

• Ethanol is not driving a world famine. The world supply of corn is still greater than demand.
That means we aren't running out of corn. In fact, the United States ended the last crop year with almost 9 percent reserve in corn, which is only slightly lower than average. The corn-consuming industry had become accustomed to much higher reserves of 15-20 percent, which drove corn prices below production costs and the accusation that the U.S. was "flooding" the world market with cheap grain.
• Undoubtedly, ethanol has contributed to tightened corn supplies and higher corn prices.
But increases in corn price are only partly explained by ethanol and only account for a small increase in retail food prices. An objective analysis determined that ethanol merely contributed to a 0.25 percent increase in U.S. food prices. The bigger culprits in higher food and corn prices are increased demand for food from growing countries like China, the impact of higher fuel prices on food transportation and a weakened dollar.

Myth #3 -Ethanol is destroying the rainforest.

• A group of university researchers have concluded that as the world needs more corn, it can only produce it by using more land, and that land will come only by tearing down the rain forest.
This argument fails to recognize the impact of innovation on farming. For example, in the 1930s the United States had more land in corn production than today, but now we produce 6 times more corn on about 10 percent less land. Use of improved fertilizers and other genetic innovations has driven this change and will continue to do so. We don't need hundreds or millions more acres of land to produce more corn. If anything, the current market pressure is accelerating the rate of innovation with some predicting a doubling of corn yields in the next 10 years.

Myth #4 - Ethanol is guzzling water.

• It takes 3 gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol. It takes 66 gallons of water to refine one gallon of oil. Therefore, to produce a gallon of gas requires 22 times the amount of water that is needed to produce a gallon of ethanol.
• A university researcher is now trying to make the argument that it actually takes 1,700 gallons of water to make a gallon of ethanol. However, he arrives at that number by allocating for point source water, or rainfall. His number incorporates the amount of rain that falls on a field of corn. Regardless of how the field is used, the rain will still fall. Through technology and innovation more than 95 percent of all corn is grown with no water other than rainfall.

Corn-ethanol is making a meaningful contribution to our country's efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil; without it our imports of refined gasoline would more than double. Ethanol is not without issues, including the assumption it's a "silver bullet." And ethanol's success has driven cynics and naysayers to surface. But the most important thing for Hoosiers to remember is this. Corn-ethanol, as with all alternative energy, has been a major contributor to new economic vitality bringing more than $2 billion in new investment, hundreds of new jobs and millions in new farm income. Through innovation we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and see continued economic growth from agriculture - and that is a fact.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pennsylvania Gas Rush Program

Call-in Broadcast: 7pm Thursday, May 22, 2008 airing on WPSU-TV and PCN

Program Summary: With residents across the state asking questions about the Marcellus Shale formation, natural gas exploration, mineral rights leasing and a number of other associated issues, WPSU-TV is responding with a one-hour live call-in program. On Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 7pm WPSU-TV and PCN will present “Pennsylvania’s Gas Rush.” This live state-wide call-in broadcast and web cast ( will offer objective and reliable advice for Pennsylvanians about the drilling and exploration development on leased land, the process of negotiating with gas companies, signing leases and creating addendums as well as information about financial, environmental and infrastructure impacts.

Hosted by Patty Satalia, the one-hour program will explore the natural gas issues with an expert panel including Tom Murphy, a Penn State cooperative extension educator well versed in many areas in regards to the natural gas exploration process; Lester Greevy, a lawyer from Williamsport specializing in mineral right leases and addendums; Ron Gilius, a representative from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection focusing on environmental concerns in the state; and a gas industry representative TBC. Additionally, a phone bank of trustworthy experts (extension educators, another DEP representative and Ross Pifer from Dickinson School of Law) will also be on hand during the program to take calls from viewers and answer questions and direct them to resources in their area.