Maine AgrAbility Featured in WABI Report

August 19th, 2014 3:31 PM

WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”

Open Farm Day – Sunday July 27, 2014

July 25th, 2014 10:24 AM

MainPrinte AgrAbility is going to Sweden!

Join us on open farm day at Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Maine from 10 am to 3 pm.  Pietree Orchard has a complete schedule of talks and tours planned.

Open Farm Day is an annual family adventure in which farms throughout the state of Maine open their gates  to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture.  To see a list of open farms in your area visit: List of Open Farm Day participants.



Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden

June 18th, 2014 3:07 PM

Space challenged or have trouble bending over? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension demonstration garden in Falmouth can show you how and what to grow this season!

garden trellis



Why do Veterans find healing with Horses?

June 17th, 2014 11:13 AM

From the Bangor Daily News-Community Section (6/17/14); by Nancy Dumond Violette, President

Photo by Nancy Dumond Violette, BDN

For more reasons than we know so far. In physical therapy, working around horses is calming and motivating; mounted work simulates walking, as well as integrating senses to develop better overall coordination. Many vets are turning to Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) for help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

PTSD and TBI are not visible, but are chronic. There is no cure. Many treatments are aimed at saving lives and families from the devastating national suicide rate of 22 per day and escalating divorce rates across the US. Most traditional treatments take place in office settings and often include psychotropic drugs. Alternatively, vets have found everything from yoga to fishing, helpful. During the past decade, the use of horses has become popular. Programs range from once a month barn visits including chores and grooming to weekly riding and/or EAP/EAL. According to vets participating in equine programs, the effects are incredibly positive. Retired Navy SEAL, Robert Foley, has made it his mission to share how effective equine therapy is for veterans. His videos are very well said:

An EAL partner in Van Buren ‘Molly girl’, BDN

The role of the horse and warriors has come full circle from the days of physically and mentally carrying men into battle, to present partners in physical and mental healing. Since the horse, a prey animal by nature, has profound intuitive radar and is always on hyper alert, veterans can often relate to their (horses) wanting to know what is behind a rock or tree, appreciating that horse ‘know’ more of what is within five miles than man. Horses are naturally adept to letting people know how their behaviors and emotions, even hidden emotions, are affecting those around them. Veterans often find partnering with horses help them in relationships and communication well beyond the farm.

Many people who have experienced trauma are relaxed by the horse’s movement when mounted; stimulating areas of the brain that involve processing, decision making, fear and response. The Horses and Humans Research Foundation is presently funding research on the effects of Equine therapy for veterans with PTSD The site is also loaded with documentation of ways horses can help children, adults and families become more healthy.

Where does a veteran find a horse? Sometimes right in a neighbor’s back yard. In Aroostook, a small Equine Assisted Learning farm in Van Buren invites vets to come pet a horse at’Open Horse’ (open house) monthly visits, with the option of scheduling more time for a variety of activities. June ‘Open Horse’ is Wed 6/18, 6-7:30pm at Perfect Ponies Learning Center (PPLC), 489 Main St. There is no cost to vets and families. For individual visits or more information: Nancy Dumond Violette 868 5324. or follow PPLC on Facebook.

Occupational Health Nursing Week April 19-25

April 18th, 2014 10:22 AM

Occupational Health Nurses Week is a national observance to recognize and celebrate the occupational and environmental health nursing profession. It is designated because, while most people understand the function of a nurse in a clinical setting, not everyone is aware that there are approximately 19,000 nurses who work in promoting and protecting the health of workers in the US and globally.

Learn More about what it means to be an occupational health nurse.

AgrAbility Harvest newsletter

April 11th, 2014 10:55 AM

HarvestCoverAgrAbility Harvest is a newsletter that highlights the activities and impacts of AgrAbility, and is designed for agricultural producers, AgrAbility staff members, rehabilitation specialists, agriculture professionals, educators, legislators, or anyone else with an interest in the agriculture and disability arena.

The 2014 edition highlights a few farming success stories; a Maine farmer is featured on page 2.   AgrAbility Harvest is published in both electronic and print formats, and to receive print copies, please email with “Newsletter” in the subject line.

USDA Enhances Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

April 9th, 2014 10:50 AM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program includes 22 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand.


Producers with small and mid-sized operations, and specialty crop fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed capital for a variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage if available products are not relevant or feasible for a particular producer.


Additionally, Farm Storage and Facility Loans security requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real estate. Now loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a promissory note.


Other new changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program will allow FSA State Committees to subordinate Commodity Credit Corporation’s lien position. These changes to the program were issued via an official notice to state and county Farm Service Agency offices and are effective immediately. More than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million bushels since May 2000.


More information about tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers will be rolled out in the coming months, including information about access to capital, risk management, food safety, and locating market opportunities on USDA’s Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.


Visit the FSA website or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans, including the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.

Farm Tractor Safety Course for Youth and Adults

April 9th, 2014 10:47 AM

Youth on Tractor

Farm work can be dangerous, but a University of Maine Cooperative Extension tractor safety course will help reduce risks to Maine farmers and farm workers. A farm tractor safety course will be held on 5 consecutive Tuesday evenings starting April 29, 2014 at the Maine Forest Service Building on Route 26 (356 Shaker Road) in Gray.

Participants should be at least 13 years of age to participate in this certified course. Adults

Location for Most Sessions: Maine Forest Service, Route 26 (Shaker Road) in Gray

Instructor: Richard J. Brzozowski, Extension Educator

Fee: $20.00 (scholarships available)

Course Schedule:

Session #1 6:30 – 8:30 p.m, Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Maine Forest Service, Route 26, in Gray. Registration and introduction to the course, requirements of the course, all assignments must be completed and submitted plus ten hours of practice driving.

Session #2 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – Meet at Hall Implement in Windham (Foster’s Corner near the rotary of Routes 302 / 202) Safety check of farm equipment exercise and tractor controls and parts identification exercise.

Session #3 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, 2014 – Maine Forest Service Building, Gray.

Session #4 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – Maine Forest Service Building, Gray. Practice driving, safety video, and review for final exam.

Session #5 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – Driving Test and Written Final Exam. Tentatively scheduled for Windham Public Works, 185 Windham Center Road, Windham.

An adult must sign off on driving hours logged for youth. Participants must successfully pass the final written exam, and successfully complete the tractor hook up and driving exams, to be certified.

For more information call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or email Lynne Hazelton. Registration is required, and space is limited.

Farmworker Awareness Week March 24 -28, 2014

March 24th, 2014 9:57 AM


Natifarmworkers week imageonal Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a week of action for communities and its members to bring attention to farmworker issues in our own communities. Farmworker Awareness Week isn’t just about raising awareness about farmworker working conditions but to also shed light on and bring honor to the important contributions farmworkers makes to our daily lives.  Read more at:

Part of AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs national effort to bring awareness to the dangers farmworkers face working with pesticides and under the sun they are raising awareness of the importance of long sleeve shirts.

Why long sleeve shirts?  Farmworkers face long hours of arduous work exposed to dangerous pesticides and heat stress. Each year, an estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to U.S. farms, forests, lawns and golf courses.  Pesticide applicators, farmers and farmworkers, and communities near farms are often most at risk of pesticide exposure and related illnesses. We will provide farmworkers with the long sleeve shirts collected free of charge as a tools to better protect themselves against the dangers of pesticide exposure and heat stress.


Transferring the Farm – A Workshop to Help Farm Families Minimize Farm Business Succession Risk

March 13th, 2014 1:04 PM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is having a  workshop that will help farmers and farm families make informed decisions about intergenerational transfer of farmland and farm businesses.  The workshop will address details on transition planning, retirement and estate planning, legal approaches to protect assets from taxes, tools you can use to transfer farm assets, and determining your goals to address transfer planning and business transition.

For more information:2014 Transferring the Farm Brochure

2014 TTF brochure Bangor_LisbonFalls