Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

Farm Scoop – April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

UMaine Extension offers Hayfield,
Pasture Management WorkshopsBaling hay

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering free workshops on hayfield and pasture management this spring around the state.

Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County, will lead the “Got Hayfields?” workshops, which focus on how to best manage hayfields and pastures to produce high-quality feed for livestock. Topics include weed control, managing soil fertility, hay and pasture renovation techniques, grazing management and basics of forage quality.

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates, times and locations:

•  April 3, 6-8 p.m., Farmington Grange, 124 Bridge Street, West Farmington

•  April 10, 7-9 p.m., UMaine Extension, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor

•  April 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Vassalboro Grange, Route 32, East Vassalboro

•  April 30, 2-4 p.m., UMaine Extension, 57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle

•  May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls

•  June 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Noon Family Sheep Farm, 78 Sunset Road, Springvale

Pre-registration is requested. Register here, or to request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426.

 

School for Poultry Producers Focuses on
Best Practices, Bird Health

UMaine Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers on Saturday, April 5th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Topics will include best management practices, bird health and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality and organic practices.

The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.

The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register, visit the Cumberland County Extension page, or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

 

Conservation of our Native BeesA queen bee with some of her attending workers.

Alison C. Dibble, Ph.D., conservation biologist and pollination ecologist from the University of Maine, Orono, will speak on April 8, at 7:00 p.m. (weather date April 15) at the Standish Town Hall. Her talk will feature a summary of what we know of the 270 species of native bees in Maine, their importance as pollinators, and recognition of their potential role in crop pollination given the decline of the introduced honey bee due to Colony Collapse Disorder. She will offer practical tips on how to enhance bee habitats in the home garden and around the farm, and where to look for more resources. She will emphasize bumble bees, which are easy to recognize and are starting to fly in early April. With Dr. Frank Drummond and others at the University of Maine, Dr. Dibble researches use of native bees as pollinators of the wild blueberry crop in a 5-year USDA-funded project on pollination security in four crops of the northeast (includes also apple, cranberry, squashes). She also prepares pollinator habitat enhancement plans for farmers around the state.

The talk is hosted by the Wildridge Garden Club and is free and open to the public.

 

Final Date for Maine Farms for the Future Clinics

GET YOURSELF READY NOW! This is the final free clinic offered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, to help interested and farmers confirm their eligibility and “practice” applying for the Maine Farms for the Future Business Planning Grant in mid-September.

The last clinic will be held in Room 319 of the Deering Building which is located at 90 Blossom Lane in Augusta.

Thursday, April 10 – 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Space is limited to 15 participants per clinic. Please call Kimbalie Lawrence at 207.287.3491 to reserve your place at the table and get a jump on your application.

 

Organic Livestock Health Care

with Susan Beal

April 12, 2014; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Common Ground Education Center, Unity.

Please bring a bag lunch and Register here.

Susan has a clear understanding of organic livestock care and its relation to physiology, nutrition, herbs and homeopathy. She will give a good overview related to all species.

Agenda:

Morning: Patterns and Articulation: Individual and Intergenerational Health and Vitality

Afternoon: Building Holistic Health: Patterns and Practices, Tools and Techniques

Question and Answer Session

 

Blade Shearing School with Kevin Fordsheep shearing

Date: April 11-12, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $110 per student. Limit of 10 participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch each day.

Location: At the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine.

Spectators are welcome.

 

Intermediate Level Sheep Shearing School
with Gwen Hinman

Date: April 13th, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $85 per student. Limit of six participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.

Location: Washington, Maine

 

Beginner Level Sheep Shearing School

Date: April 26th, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $40 per student. Limit of 18 participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.

Location: Wolfe Neck Farm, Freeport, ME

Spectators are welcome.

For more information or to register please visit the Cumberland County Extension page.

 

Farm Tractor Safety Course for
Youth and AdultsYouth 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.

 

York County Farmers’ Network (YCFN) Upcoming Events

YCFN Potluck Dinner and Conservation Easement Workshop

Date: Tuesday, April 15

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale, Maine 04083

Cost: Free

Jointly sponsored with Three Rivers Land Trust, from 5:30 to 6:15, enjoy the potluck dinner (bring a dish to share and your own plates and utensils). Following dinner, we’ll have a presentation about conservation easements, with a special focus on how easements may fit into landowners’ plans for future use of their farm or property. Please RSVP and feel free to tell interested friends and neighbors about this event.

 YCFN Potluck Supper and Farm Tour at Riverside Farm

Date: Tuesday, May 13

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: N. Berwick, hosted by Riverside Farm owner Dave Tuttle

Potluck supper, followed by a tour of Riverside Farm’s new hydroponics endeavor. Dave Tuttle will lead discussions on small tools as well as on farm transitions: wholesale to retail and from one generation to the next. Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207-324-2814.

 

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers
2014 Master Food Preserver ProgramMason jars full of canned produce

Master Food Preserver (MFP) volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The MFP Program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions in the Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, and the UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office in Falmouth.

Sessions will take place throughout the growing season from June – September, focusing on food preservation techniques including: canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques.

Once MFPs have successfully completed the Program, they serve as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Details and application packets are available online at the Food Preservation – Master Food Preserver Program page.

 

University of Maine Cooperative Extension
launches a new Garlic Website4-garlic-bulbs

Garlic is a member of the Allium family, which includes onions, chives, and leeks. Garlic originated in central Asia, and has been grown for 5,000 years in Egypt and India. Found as an important ingredient in many cuisines, garlic is an easy-to-grow, high value crop that is increasingly popular in Maine with farmers and gardeners. Visit the new garlic website for more information.

 

Wishing for Spring?

Read the latest articles on gardening in the Maine Home Garden News. Sign up online to receive monthly issues throughout the growing season.

 

USDA Enhances Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

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.

 

 

Explore Farming with UMaine Extension

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative (PVAEC) explore what it takes to be a farmer in Maine on Wednesday, March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at UMaine Extension, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft.

“Is Farming for ME?” will instruct attendees how to assess all assets that can contribute to a successful farm and where they can go for more information on starting a farm business plan. The program is part of the YOU CAN series of workshops developed to teach self-sufficiency skills to Maine families.

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties and statewide resource for the Maine beef and equine industry, will lead the workshop. Cost is $5; pre-registration is required. To register, call 207.564.6525 or visit http://bit.ly/pyoucan. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.564.3301 or 800.287.1491 (in Maine).

UMaine Extension Offers Free Apple Tree Pruning Field Day

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Pruning a fruit tree branchThe University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free apple tree pruning and grafting field day Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm, 234 Dexter Road, in Saint Albans.

Avalon Acres owner Mark Sheriff, an alumnus of the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program, will host. He’ll present information about general planting and management practices for apple trees then demonstrate pruning and grafting in the orchard. Apple tree growers and people who plan to plant apple trees this spring are invited to attend.

Pre-registration is requested but not required. Attendees should wear footwear appropriate for walking on uneven terrain. Rain date is Saturday, April 26. For more information, to register, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Peter Bastien, 207.474.9622, 800.287.1945 (toll free in Maine).

Registration Underway for UMaine Extension’s Grain Conference

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Handful of grainRegistration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.

Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y. will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.

Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.

Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.

Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.

Pre-registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if pre-registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. To pre-register and pay online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/2014-maine-grain-workshop/. For more information, to pre-register by phone, or to request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878.

Farm Scoop – March 2014

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Maine Hay Directory & Maine Straw Directoryround bales of hay piled in a field; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Do you have enough hay to get through the winter?  Do you have hay for sale?  Use the Maine Hay Directory to locate possible hay sources or post the availability of your hay.

If you need straw or have straw for sale, use the Maine Straw Directory.

 

York County Farmers Network Upcoming Events

Off-the-Farm YCFN Winter Breakfast

Date: March 4th
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Hen House Cafe, 446 Main Street, Springvale, Maine 04083
Cost: Free to YCFN members, generously sponsored by Farm Credit of Maine

​Thanks to Farm Credit of Maine, this breakfast is free to YCFN members.  A small donation from non-member visitors is requested. The Hen House Cafe in Springvale is a quick hop from the Extension office building, right across the street from the Maine District Courthouse on Main Street (Route 109). Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day before the breakfast (Monday) to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

YCFN Potluck – Farm Transitions and Succession Planning: What to Do, What Not to Do

Date: March 18th
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (program starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Location: Nasson Heritage room, Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine 04083

Who is going to carry on your work on the family woodlot or family farm when you’re gone? Please come for a potluck dinner and presentation on farms and other real property in transition from the current owners to the next generation or to others, and pointers on how to help it happen smoothly. Rich Merk, President of SWOAM (Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine), will lead a discussion on succession planning; how to plan for the future ownership or control of real property that you have invested in for years or maybe generations. The Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, Three Rivers Land Trust and the York County Farmers Network jointly present this program.  Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

YCFN Potluck – 100 Unique Maine Farms

Date: March 25th
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (program starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Location: Nasson Heritage room, Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine 04083

York County resident Mary Doyle spent two years on the road visiting 100 unique Maine farms and is writing a book on that topic. She has incredible stories and pictures to share. Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

Chelsea (MA) Market YCFN Field Trip

Date: March 27th
Time: 1:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.
Location: Wells Transportation Center parking lot

Meet at the Wells Transportation Center/Park at 1:00 a.m. and commute with fellow farmers to a 3:00 a.m. arrival at Chelsea Market outside of Boston. Experience a unique behind the scenes tour of the market. We should be done by 5:00 a.m. and back in Wells by 7:00 a.m. for a day’s work.

FMI on all these events visit the York County Farmers Network.

 

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer Workshop Series –

Rescheduled for March!Farmer and duck with ducklings

Dates: Wednesdays, March 5-26, 2014
Time:
5:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 
Location: Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District,
254 Goddard Road, Lewiston, Maine 04240

Registration: Full 5-session registration $50/person or $15/individual session

Join with other new and experienced farmers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share strategies for successful farming. Topics include crop, nutrient and pest management; irrigation, and transition to organic production. This series includes four evening sessions and one full-day session in May. Full details, including how to register, are available at AVSWCD. Contact Jane Heikkinen, 207.753.9400 x 400, with any questions or to request a disability accommodation.

Sponsored by Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services; and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. All sponsors are equal opportunity employers.

FREE Cover Crops Webinars

Dates: Thursdays, March 6-27, 2014, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. (EST)
Registration: FREE to all who wish to participate! Register online for individual webinars or the entire series.

Improving soil health not only cleans up water quality and reduces soil loss but also provides a better environment for cash crops to succeed. Learn about basic soil health principles and how cover crops are key to making those happen on your farm.
This ASA webinar series will focus on cover crops and their implications on soil health, maximizing yields, livestock considerations, and crop management.
Webinars 

March 6 – Cover Crops, Soil Health Principals and Maximizing Yields

March 13 – Combining Livestock, Manure and Cover Crops

March 20 – Cover Crops Seed Selection and Planting

March 27 – Cover Crop Management and Termination

 

2014 Maine Grain Conference

wheat field

Saturday, March 15th
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Spectacular Events Center, Bangor
(395 Griffin Road, near the airport)

Guests:

  • Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, Lakeview Organic Grains, Penn Yan, New York
  • Dorn Cox, Tuckaway Farm, Lee, New Hampshire

Agenda:

  • Rotations for Organic Grains
  • Alternative Grain Options and Production Considerations
  • Growing Grains for Seed
  • Protecting Quality – Harvesting, Drying, Cleaning and Storing Grains
  • Grain Equipment for All Sizes
  • What’s Going On with Grains in Maine
  • UMaine Grain Research Results
  • Tap the Expertise in the Room – Come prepared with questions to ask the group.

Get more information, or register online by March 13th for the Maine Grain Conference! Pre-registration is required – $20 before March 10th; $30 afterwards; Includes snack and lunch. Pesticide and CCA credits have been requested. To register by phone and pay by check, call Meghan Dill, 207.581.3878. Other questions, call or email Cooperative Extension Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Ellen Mallory, 207.581.2942.

Maine Grass Farmers Network 10th Annual Grazing Conference

Saturday, March 15th
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield

The cost is $75 per person, $25 for each additional person from the same farm or household, with discounts for students and MGFN members. This conference is designed for livestock producers who want to learn how to best use pasture and forage crops to feed their livestock profitably.

This year’s conference features Forrest Pritchard, a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. His farm, Smith Meadows, is one of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, and has sold products at farmers markets in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. His book Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm was named a Top Read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” Pritchard’s keynote presentation is “The Economics of Grass-Based Livestock.”

Additional presenters will include University of Vermont livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser and Crystal Springs Farm manager Seth Kroek. The conference will also feature the MGFN annual business meeting, a grass-fed beef cook-off and a trade show.

For more information and to register, visit the MGFN website. For any questions or to request a disability accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen, or 207.342.5971

The MGFN Conference is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension; The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; The Natural Resources Conservation Service; The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Maine Beef Producers Association.

 

2014 Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training

Presented by UMaine Cooperative Extension & Maine Board of Pesticides Control

For your convenience, recertification meetings have been scheduled at various sites around the state. Each of these sessions is worth 4 recertification credits.

Seating is limited at each location, so be sure to pre-register by returning the Pesticide Registration Form by March 17. Pre-registration is $20. Registration after March 17 is $30.

Locations, Dates and Times:

Presque Isle – March 25 – Presque Isle Inn, 116 Main St., 12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Brewer – March 26 Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Ave., 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Augusta – March 26 Augusta Civic Center, Washington and York Rooms, 76 Community Dr., 12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Portland – March 27 – Keeley’s Banquet Center, 178 Warren Ave., 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Agenda:

  • Registration check-in – 30 minutes before the program starts.
  • 1st Hour – Bee Health Status, Commercial and Native Bees – Frank Drummond, UMaine Cooperative Extension
  • 2nd Hour – Pollinator Protection – How Pesticide Applicators Can Reduce the Risks – Gary Fish, Board of Pesticides Control
  • Break
  • 3rd Hour – Pesticide Selection & Regulation Update – Gary Fish, Board of Pesticides Control
  • 4th Hour – Invasive Insects & Plants – Staff, MeDACF

Credits are given for one session only.  Questions about your recertification credits? Call the Board of Pesticides Control 207.287.2731.

 

Maine Farms for the Future Clinics

GET YOURSELF READY NOW!  In March and April, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, will offer three free clinics to help interested and farmers confirm their eligibility and “practice” applying for the Maine Farms for the Future Business Planning Grant in mid-September.

The clinics will be held on the following dates, in Room 319 of the Deering Building which is located at 90 Blossom Lane in Augusta.

  • Tuesday, March 18 – 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, March 21 – 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, April 10 – 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Space is limited to 15 participants per clinic. Please call Kimbalie Lawrence at 207.287.3491 to reserve your place at the table and get a jump on your application.

Transferring the Farm

A Workshop to Help Farm Families Minimize Farm Business Succession Risk by addressing estate planning, business structures, and developing plans to move your farm to the next generation.

Two dates/locations from which to choose:

April 1, 2014
Cooperative Extension Office
307 Maine Ave.
Bangor, ME

April 2, 2014
Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Extension Office
24 Main Street
Lisbon Falls, ME

Additional information and registration available here, 2014 Transferring the Farm brochure Bangor and Lisbon Falls. Registration deadline is March 28.

 

Maine Migrant Health ProgramThe Maine Migrant Health Program

Do you need affordable health insurance? Free, in-person help is available! The Maine Migrant Health Program is a non-profit organization with over 20 years of experience providing healthcare to Maine’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers. If you own your own farm, need coverage for you and your family, are an employee who is looking for coverage, or a member of the general public, we are here to help members of Maine’s agricultural community get enrolled in a health insurance plan.

We have Certified Application Counselors across the state that are available to:

  • meet with you to provide information on the Affordable Care Act
  • explain the discounts that are available to low and moderate income individuals and families
  • assist you in applying for coverage
  • support you in choosing a health insurance plan.

Our services are free and available to the general public. Don’t delay!  The deadline to enroll is March 31, 2014.  Please call Liz Charles at 207.441.1633 or Eduardo Cortes at 207.485.5553 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers
2014 Master Food Preserver ProgramVegetables for food preservation

Master Food Preserver (MFP) volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The MFP Program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions in the Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, and the UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office in Falmouth.

Sessions will take place throughout the growing season from June – September, focusing on food preservation techniques including: canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques.

Once MFPs have successfully completed the Program, they serve as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Details and application packets are available online at the Food Preservation – Master Food Preserver Program page.

School for Poultry Producers Focuses on Best Practices, Maine Poultry Growers Association
Bird Health

UMaine Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers on Saturday, April 5th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Topics will include best management practices, bird health and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality and organic practices.

The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.

The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register visit the UMaine Extension Maine Poultry School page, or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

Presentation on Conservation of our Native BeesA queen bee with some of her attending workers.

Alison C. Dibble, Ph.D., conservation biologist and pollination ecologist from the University of Maine, Orono, will speak on April 7 at 7:00 p.m. (weather date April 14) at the Standish Town Hall. Her talk will feature a summary of what we know of the 270 species of native bees in Maine, their importance as pollinators, and recognition of their potential role in crop pollination given the decline of the introduced honey bee due to Colony Collapse Disorder.

She will offer practical tips on how to enhance bee habitats in the home garden and around the farm, and where to look for more resources. She will emphasize bumblebees, which are easy to recognize and are starting to fly in early April.

With Dr. Frank Drummond and others at the University of Maine, Dr. Dibble researches use of native bees as pollinators of the wild blueberry crop in a 5-year USDA-funded project on pollination security in four crops of the northeast (includes also apple, cranberry, squashes). She also prepares pollinator habitat enhancement plans for farmers around the state.

The talk is hosted by the Wildridge Garden Club and is free and open to the public.

Blade Shearing School with Kevin Fordsheep shearing

April 11-12, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $110 per student. Limit of ten participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch each day.
Location: At the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine.

Spectators are welcome.

Intermediate Level Sheep Shearing School with Gwen Hinman

April 13th, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $85 per student. Limit of six participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.
Location: Washington, Maine

Beginner Level Sheep Shearing School

April 26th, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $40 per student. Limit of ten participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.
Location: Wolfe Neck Farm, Freeport, ME

Spectators are welcome. Information and registration are available online.

Proposed Changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

EPA has issued proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families.  The best source of information is on the EPA website. EPA is seeking your input by the date specified in the Federal Register notice, which will publish within 10 days, identified by docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0184-0002.

Background:

EPA is proposing revisions to the Worker Protection Standard through a Federal Register Notice.  These revisions will protect more than two million farm workers from pesticide exposure.

  • Today marks an important milestone for the farm workers who plant, tend, and harvest the food that we put on our tables each day.
  • EPA is proposing revisions to the Worker Protection Standard in order to protect more than 2 million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure.
  • EPA’s revised Worker Protection Standard will afford farm workers similar health protections to those already enjoyed by workers in other jobs.
  • EPA’s commonsense revisions include provisions that will ensure farm workers have access to annual safety training; prohibit children under the age of 16 from handling pesticides; and make certain that workers are aware of the protections they are afforded under the law and have the tools they need to protect themselves and their families from exposure to pesticides.
  • Protecting our nation’s farm workers from pesticide exposures is at the core of EPA’s work to ensure environmental justice for all Americans.

Key Proposed Challenges:

  • More frequent (annual) and expanded mandatory training will inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including entry restrictions into pesticide-treated fields, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional content includes how to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing. (Current rule requires training every 5 years.)
  • Mandatory posting of signs for the most hazardous pesticides; the signs prohibit re-entry into treated fields until residues decline to a safe level. (Current rule allows for the option of either oral or posted notification.)
  • Minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides. [Note: Department of Labor requires that people who handle pesticides in toxicity categories I and II (the riskiest pesticides) to be at least 16 years old but there is no  minimum age requirement to handle pesticides in toxicity categories III and IV (less risky pesticides)]. (Current rule has no minimum age requirement.)
  • No-entry buffer areas surrounding the site being treated with a pesticide will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes. (Current rule has this restriction only for pesticide applications in nurseries and greenhouses, not farms and forests.)
  • Improve the states’ ability to enforce compliance by requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farmworker training and early-entry notification for two years. (Current rule does not require recordkeeping.)
  • PPE (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation and training. (Current rule does not require that respirators meet the OSHA standard.)
  • Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets. (Current rule requires that this information is posted at a central location until 30 days after the restricted entry interval expires.)
  • Provide greater information to early-entry workers – people entering a treated site before residues have reached safe levels. Information includes the specific pesticide applied, what work can be done by early-entry workers and the amount of time they can remain in the treated area. Early entry into the recently pesticide-treated site is sometimes allowed for emergency situations or other short term essential tasks.  (Current rule only requires informing early-entry workers of label hazards.)
  • Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers. In addition, this proposal continues the exemptions from the current rule for family farms.

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Maine Grass Farmers Network 10th Annual Grazing Conference

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Grazing cattle

The Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) annual Grazing Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

The cost is $75 per person, $25 for each additional person from the same farm or household, with discounts for students and MGFN members. This conference is designed for livestock producers who want to learn how to best use pasture and forage crops to feed their livestock profitably.

This year’s conference features Forrest Pritchard, a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. His farm, Smith Meadows, is one of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, and has sold products at farmers markets in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. His book “Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm” was named a Top Read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” Pritchard’s keynote presentation is “The Economics of Grass-Based Livestock.”

Additional presenters will include University of Vermont livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser and Crystal Springs Farm manager Seth Kroek. The conference will also feature the MGFN annual business meeting, a grass-fed beef cook-off and a trade show.

For more information and to register, visit the MGFN website at http://umaine.edu/livestock/mgfn/. For any questions or to request a disability accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen, 207.342.5971; richard.kersbergen@maine.edu.

The MGFN Conference is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension; The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; The Natural Resources Conservation Service; The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Maine Beef Producers Association.

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Farmer and duck with ducklingsWorkshop series beginning Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2014
Meets weekly 5:45 – 9:00 p.m. through Weds., Mar. 26
Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District,
254 Goddard Road, Lewiston, ME 04240

Full 5-session registration $50/person or $15/individual session
Priority Series Registration Deadline February 24, 2014

Join with other new and experienced farmers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share strategies for successful farming. Topics include crop, nutrient and pest management; irrigation, and transition to organic production. This series includes four evening sessions and one full-day session in May. Full details, including how to register, are available online. Contact Jane Heikkinen, 207.753.9400 x 400, with any questions or to request a disability accommodation.

Sponsored by Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services; and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. All sponsors are equal opportunity employers.

School for Poultry Producers Focuses on Best Practices, Bird Health

Monday, February 10th, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Topics will include best management practices, bird health, and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality, and organic practices.

The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers, and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.

The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register, visit http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/poultry-keepers/ or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

Tractor Safety Course Begins March 31

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
A five-week 4-H tractor safety course mandatory for youth ages 14-15 hired to operate equipment on farms not run by their families begins March 31, at Kramer’s Inc. on West River Road in Sidney.

The class, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Kennebec County Farm Bureau and Kramer’s Inc., will meet 6-8 p.m. Mondays, March 31 through April 21, with a written exam and driving test April 28.

Jeff Bragg of Sidney, Neal Caverly of Clinton, Cliff Kramer of Kramer’s Inc., and Karen Hatch Gagne of UMaine Extension are instructors. They will teach participants to safely handle tractors and equipment, to identify hazards and to minimize the risk of accidents. The course is open to all; priority will be given to youth 14-16 years old. Participants who successfully complete the classroom sessions, written exam and driving test earn a federal certificate of training.

Preregistration is required. To register online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/tractor-safety/kennebec/. A fee of $20 includes books, snacks and other materials. For more information, to receive a registration form, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Gagne or Diana Hartley at 207.622.7546, 800.287.1481 (in Maine), karen.h.gagne@maine.edu or diana.hartley@maine.edu.