UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- If you have an interest in research related to agriculture and natural resources, organizers of Penn State's Ag Progress Days have a deal for you. Come to the event, Aug. 12-14, board a bus and you'll be transported into the field, where you can learn about topics such as crop production, woodlot management, wildlife habitat, biofuel feedstocks and water quality.
The free, daily tours allow visitors to see production and management practices being studied by Penn State researchers at the surrounding Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center, and one tour will take visitors to Penn State's Deer Research Center near the University Park campus. Most tours require some walking or standing.
All tours require free tickets that can be obtained at the boarding area, which is located at the corn crib on Main Street, near the headquarters building at the Ag Progress Days site.
The tours feature the following topics:
-- American Chestnut Foundation Plantings (1.25 hours)
Visit American chestnut breeding orchards and learn about the history and demise of the American chestnut tree. You'll find out about The American Chestnut Foundation's breeding program aimed at restoring the species and see how to plant and maintain chestnut trees. Bus leaves daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., with an additional tour at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
-- Penn State Deer Research Center (2.5 hours)
Visitors can view live deer and learn about deer biology, deer management and current research. In the event of inclement weather, animals will be viewed from the bus and a slide show will be presented in the display room. Bus leaves daily at 11 a.m., with additional tours Tuesday at 3 p.m. and Wednesday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Note: Due to possible transmission of diseases to animals, certain restrictions apply.
-- Habitat Management for Deer and Other Wildlife (1.5 hours)
This tour will focus on food plots and habitat management practices as part of a Quality Deer Management System to improve habitat for many wildlife species while producing healthier and larger deer. Visit recently installed habitat demonstration plots in the woodlot and neighboring fields. Bus leaves daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with an additional tour at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
-- High Tunnel Research and Education Facility (1.25 hours)
The High Tunnel Research and Education Facility at Rock Springs demonstrates the most current production systems for horticultural crops that can be produced in high tunnels. Bus leaves daily at 1:30 p.m.
-- Management Tactics for High-Yielding Soybeans (1 hour)
Learn about sustainable practices needed to create and sustain high yields on Pennsylvania soils and in turn meet the growing local and worldwide demand for soybeans. The tour will showcase how no-till, cover crops, gypsum, high-yielding varieties, and pest and soil management tactics can lead to improved soybean yields. Bus leaves daily at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
-- Pasture Management and Rotational Grazing (1.5 hours)
This tour will cover pasture management issues for equine and cattle and highlight conservation practices that can support livestock while protecting natural resources. See how to set up paddocks or an exercise area for your animals and learn how to maintain healthy grass and legume pastures. A live demonstration of moving animals through a rotational grazing system will be presented. Bus leaves daily at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
-- Short Rotation Woody Crops for Biomass (1 hour)
What are short rotation woody crops? How do they contribute to biomass feedstock? Why are they being promoted for marginal planting sites? What type of species should you grow and who will buy it? Find the answers by visiting a demonstration plot with fast-growing willow and poplar trees. Learn how to grow, harvest and produce this crop as an alternative income opportunity that helps provide sustainable energy supplies. Bus leaves daily at noon.
-- Stream (Riparian) Buffers and Native Prairie Grasses (1 hour)
Learn how a riparian buffer can enhance your property and improve water quality in your community. This tour will cover the benefits of forested and grassed stream buffers, as well as how to install and maintain them. You'll see a prairie grass demonstration and learn how to establish and maintain native grasses with wildflowers for wildlife habitat, biofuels and more. Bus leaves daily at 11:30 a.m.
-- Woodlot Management: Decisions and Actions (1.5 hours)
Visitors can compare a recently thinned area due to ash mortality from emerald ash borer and a young white pine stand that was thinned five years ago; get a look at particularly aggressive invasive plant species and their management; and see how a decision to cut birch firewood five years ago has changed the development path in one stand. Bus leaves daily at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with additional tours Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 12, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 13 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 14. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can share information about the event using the hashtag #agprogress, and Facebook users can find the event at .