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Cooperative Extension: Agriculture


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Farm Scoop – September 2014

2014 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium

Electronic registration and payment via credit card for the 2014 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium is now available. You may register up to 2 people online from the same farm and pay with a credit card. If you wish to register more people, please register by mail and send a check made out to Cornell University. Online registration is only available to those attending the Saturday Symposium.  If you are not attending on Saturday but wish to register only for the Friday Hands-on activities, please register by mail and send a check made out to Cornell University. To register and pay electronically by credit card, click here. Registration deadline is September 24, 2014.

The 2014 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium (click for details) will be held on Friday and Saturday 3 and 4 October. The hands-on activities Friday will start with a tour of the Cornell Sheep Farm and explanation of ongoing research and management. The Saturday sessions will be in Morrison Hall on the Cornell Campus, Ithaca, NY. Dr. Dave Thomas from the University of Wisconsin, Madison will give the opening talk on sheep dairying in North America. He will also give a later talk on dairy sheep research at the Univ. of Wisconsin. Other topics include

A detailed announcement is available here. Please click on 2014 Cornell Sheep & Goat Symposium for additional information and to register.

 

Mainers Urged to Sign Up for Free Disposal of Banned, Unusable Pesticides

This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help Mainers dispose of banned or unusable pesticides.

This free disposal program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collection will occur at sites located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. To qualify, people must register by September 26, 2014.

Governor Paul R. LePage is urging Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the environment and save money through this once a year collection event that highlights cooperation between government agencies. “This is an opportunity for Mainers to dispose of unusable pesticides properly and at no expense,” said Governor LePage. “By consolidating collections into four central locations and using in-house resources and expertise, we can reduce disposal costs to about $2 per pound. That’s a great value for Maine taxpayers.”

It’s not unusual for homes and farms to have unintentional hazardous waste—banned pesticides or pesticides that have become caked, frozen, or otherwise rendered unusable—sitting around in basements, garages, or barns. These chemicals can be difficult and expensive to dispose of; DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of proper disposal of banned or unwanted pesticides.

“It’s important for the protection of public, wildlife, and environmental health that these products are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “People holding these chemicals should contact the BPC as soon as possible to register for the October collection.”

“Providing an easy and no cost solution for Mainers to properly dispose of pesticides is a win for the environment and public health,” said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. “The collection events cover the State and are held in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland providing accessible methods of collection and future disposal.”

The collected chemicals go to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed.

Registration by September 26, 2014, is mandatory—drop-ins are not permitted. To register, get details, and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org, or call 207.287.2731.

The Maine Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP, and paid for entirely through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.

 

Agricultural Producers in Maine Still Have Time to Apply for Low-Interest Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Don Todd, announced that farmers and ranchers still have time to apply for low interest 2014 loans available through FSA’s direct farm ownership program. The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 30, 2014.

Eligible producers can borrow up to $300,000 in direct farm ownership loans to buy or enlarge a farm, construct new farm buildings or improve structures, pay closing costs, or promote soil and water conservation and protection. The interest rate on select loans can be as low as 1.5 percent with up to 40 years to repay.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for more farmers and ranchers to get low-interest loans to start their first farm, or expand an existing family farm,” said Todd. “There are no backlogs or waiting for funding. If you’ve dreamed about starting a farm, or if you’re looking to strengthen your farm, we want to help.”

FSA encourages all interested applicants to apply for direct farm ownership loans. For more information about the program and other loans administered by FSA, visit any FSA county office or www.fsa.usda.gov.

 

Assessing Your Farm Business Plan

Assessing Your Farm Business Plan (click on the ‘get tool’ link under the headline) is an interactive assessment to assist farmers and agri-entrepreneurs in evaluating the potential of their farm business planning success. There are 54 statements in the assessment to which you rate your degree of agreement. This tool provides you with the opportunity to assess the components of your plan and make revisions before investing your valuable time and resources in the new business.

The University of Maryland Extension home page has a lot of interesting and useful business planning resources and learning modules.

 

FairRent for the Web – Now Available

Cash rent negotiations will be very challenging this year. At current commodity prices it is going to be important for producers to know their costs and look at options to limit downside risk. The Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota has just released a tool to help producers and landlords evaluate alternative rental arrangements. FairRent for the Web is a new and improved web version of the desktop software that CFFM has distributed for over 20 years.

The web version of FairRent includes the option to evaluate seven different flex lease options as well as traditional cash rent and share rental returns. Another improvement is the inclusion of crop insurance to evaluate how insurance will limit downside risk.

FairRent is free to use. Just sign up and begin creating rental plans.

 

Upcoming 2014-2015 Beekeeping Courses

Would you like to learn how to produce your own local honey, and help provide pollinators for your yard, farm or neighborhood? Don’t miss the opportunity to take beekeeping classes from the UMaine Extension and the Maine State Beekeepers Association.

There are two upcoming Beginner Beekeeping courses, that are great opportunities for new beekeepers, prior to their first year of bees, or it can be a great refresher course for beekeepers just now going into their first winter.

Additionally there is an Intermediate Beekeeping course available that is geared towards beekeepers with two plus years of experience. The focus of this class is how to effectively manage an apiary under Maine conditions. It will include how to keep your colonies healthy and thriving, and how to meet the goals you have with your bees such as swarm prevention, honey production, and colony maximization.

 

2014 Fall: Beginner Beekeeping

Dates: Thursdays, October 16 to November 13

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: UMaine Extension Cumberland Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth, ME

Workshop Fee: $100.00 per person

Instructors: Jack Hildreth and Chris Rogers

Register here.

 

2015 Winter: Beginner Beekeeping

Dates: Thursdays, February 5 to March 5

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: UMaine Extension Cumberland Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth, ME

Workshop Fee: $100.00 per person

Instructors: Jack Hildreth and Chris Rogers

Register here.

 

2015 Winter: Intermediate Beekeeping

Dates: Tuesdays, January 6 to February 10

Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Location: UMaine Extension Cumberland Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth, ME

Instructors: Jack Hildreth and Peter Richardson

Workshop Fee: $140.00

Register here.

 

Grow Your Farm Skills this Fall/Winter from the Comfort of Your Home!

The Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension offer a menu of 12 online courses each Fall and Winter to help farmers develop their businesses. These 5- to 7-week online courses cost $200 total for up to 4 members of the same farm to attend. They are an amazing opportunity to discover new resources, build your farm plan, hear from successful farmers, and develop a support network of peers. Consisting of a weekly real-time webinar followed by readings, discussion forums, and homework on your own time, most students find they spend 3-6 hrs/week to dig into their course.

UPCOMING COURSES:

Learn which courses would be best for you, read about our team of experienced instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and view the calendar of course offerings for 2013-2014.

 

A Tiny Home for Farm Workers or Apprentices?

A “tiny home” might be of interest to you or someone you know.  It can be an affordable alternative to traditional apartments or homes.  Currently, there is one under construction in Bowdoinham.  Here is a link to that project.

 

Improving Your Performance and the Performance of Farm Employee

Everyone in some way wants to improve.  This likely applies to you as well as your employees.Here is a link to a fact sheet from Ohio State University about appraising employee performance.

This article recently was published for the United Soybean Board.

Image Description: goats

Image Description: sheep shearing

Image Description: Maine Board of Pesticides Control Think First Spray Last logo

Image Description: Beekeeper with hives

Image Description: Farmer and duck with ducklings

Rogers Farm site of free Sustainable Agriculture Field Day

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will hold its annual Sustainable Agriculture Field Day 4-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Rogers Farm, 914 Bennoch Road, Old Town.

Rogers Farm is part of UMaine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The free event is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others interested in agricultural production. UMaine agricultural researchers and Extension faculty will present field research highlighting current applied agricultural research projects, including alternative weed management strategies in vegetable production, opportunities and challenges with winter grains and evaluating plants to support native pollinators.

Presenters include Ellen Mallory, Extension sustainable agriculture specialist; Lois Berg Stack, Extension ornamental horticulture specialist; Eric Gallandt, associate professor of weed ecology and management; John Jemison, Extension water quality specialist; Bryan Brown and Erin Roche, UMaine graduate students in Sustainable Agriculture; and Tom Molloy, sustainable agriculture research associate. Ilse Rasmussen, visiting scholar from the International Center for Research on Organic Food Systems, will discuss sustainable agriculture in Denmark.

Participants will receive one pesticide certification credit and two Certified Crop Adviser credits. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.; events are 5-7:30 p.m. Participants are invited to arrive at 4 p.m. to participate in a walking weed tour conducted by Gallandt.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Mallory at 207.581.2942 or Jemison at 207.581.3241.

Image Description: UMaine Sustainable Ag Field Day

What’s That Weed? UMaine Extension Knows

Common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit, and other cultivated crops will be the focus of the walk led by Extension Educator Donna Coffin. She’ll have references available for those who want to learn how to identify and manage weeds. Participants are encouraged to bring a digital photo of problematic weeds in their farms and gardens. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private pesticide applicators.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Coffin at 207.564.3301,800.287.1491 (in Maine), or donna.coffin@maine.edu. Details also are available at calendar.umaine.edu/events/.

Image Description: Cinquefoil

Farm Scoop – May 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers FREE Hayfield, Pasture Management Workshops

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:

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

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

Pre-registration is requested. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426, or visit the Waldo County program page

2014 FAMACHA Workshop

On Saturday, May 17th at 3:00 p.m. the North East Livestock Expo (NELE) in Windsor, attend a FAMACHA workshop, designed to equip sheep and goat producers with the skills and knowledge to determine the degree of infections of Haemonchus contorutus (barber pole worm). Cost PER FARM: $20.00 (enrolls multiple attendees). For more information or to enroll, please visit the Cumberland County program page

Pilot Farmers’ Market in Lisbon

The Town of Lisbon, under its Healthy Maine Streets initiative, is interested in starting a pilot Farmer’s Market for the 2014 season at the MTM Community Center at 18 School Street. If you are interested in participating in this exciting new market, please contact Economic & Community Development Director, Tracey Steuber.

There will be an informational meeting for all interested vendors on Tuesday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. at the UMaine Cooperative Extension office located at 24 Main Street in Lisbon Falls. If you are interested, but unable to make this meeting, please let Tracey know.

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers 2014 Master Food Preserver Program

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.

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer Irrigation Workshop

This is the final session in a series of workshops for farmers in the Androscoggin Valley. Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production will cover state regulations, water budget, watering systems, drip irrigation, soil moisture monitoring, water conservation and related programs— May 6—All-day— Classroom session at Androscoggin/Sagadahoc Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls and on-site session  at Six River Farm in Bowdoinham.  Advanced Registration Required. To register contact: Jane Heikkinen at 207.753.9400 ext. 400 for a form or go to www.androscogginswcd.org.

Please notify us with any special accommodation needs by May 1. The cost for this workshop session is $15 per person.  BRING YOUR  OWN  LUNCH . Scholarships are available for second person from the farm. Call at number above for scholarship details. Costs are able to remain minimal because of grant funding provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service under project#68-1218-13-17.

New UMaine Extension Garlic Website

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. The UMaine Garlic Website will assist in all aspects of the garlic growing cycle.

Sign-Up for USDA Disaster Assistance Programs Restored by Farm Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting today, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency.  The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.  The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.

Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment.  Taking these steps in advance will help producers ensure their application moves through the process as quickly as possible.

Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, and more.  Crop records may include purchase receipts for eligible trees, bushes, or vines, seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records, and documentation of labor and equipment used to plant or remove eligible trees, bushes, or vines.

Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss.  Details are available from any local FSA office.

For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office or USDA Service Center.

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success Free Course for Farmers

The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute are cosponsoring an online course in Marketing aimed at farmers called Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success. This program is funded by USDA SARE’s NE Professional Development Program and hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County.

There is no charge for the course which can be taken by farmers at their convenience asynchronously and is accessible any time, day or night. Participants do not have to follow a specific schedule which makes it easier for farmers to participate since they can move through the course at their own pace.

The curriculum includes the following five components, or modules: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment. Within each module there are three sessions which include a video of each live presentation, Q & A documents, glossary of terms, links to additional resources, an online discussion forum, homework assignments, and a quiz. By completing all five modules, farmers will be able to learn essential marketing skills to analyze their personal and business capacity, determine optimal marketing channels, build their customer base, and increase their sales and profits. After completing the course, participants will have all the knowledge needed to create their complete farm business and marketing plan.

Successful completion of all sessions within each of the 5 components including the assignments and quizzes will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Services Agency.

To register for this free online curriculum to help farmers increase their marketing skills and grow their business, go to the Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success page.

For more information on the curriculum, or on using the course to qualify for borrower training credits, please contact the Farmers Market Federation office at 315.637.4690.

UMaine Extension Tick I.D. Lab

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office has started a new tick identification lab.  The PMO has always identified ticks with averaging around 50 or so specimens a year.  The bulk of Maine’s tick identifications were done at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough.  There, they processed up to 1300 samples per year, looking at tick distribution and occurrence of Lyme disease as well as other tick borne problems.

As of Dec 31, 2013 they stopped this part of their research and approached the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office to take over the I.D. part of this service.  A website, as well as a submission program/online form, were quickly established, and a $10 fee per tick for ID instated.  To ensure quick turnaround time on specimens, an extensive day-long training was held at PMO for tick ID of the 14 species found in Maine. The program came online the first week April, and the first tick specimens are now being submitted.  Please go online to view the new website and find the submission form.

Pollinator Protection – A very important topic for growers, commercial beekeepers and pesticide applicators

In 2012, David Yarborough, University of Maine Wild Blueberry Specialist, said, “There are usually about 55,000 hives trucked in each spring from places as far away as Florida, Texas and California.” With anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 bees per hive, that’s a billion bees. Without these pollinators Maine’s wild blueberry crop yields would suffer.  Many other crops also rely on pollinators, especially our fruits and vegetables.

Nationwide, honey bee colonies have been declining in recent years due to several factors, including parasitic mites, viruses, fungal diseases, malnutrition, lack of genetic diversity and improper use of pesticides. The overwintering losses have averaged in the 30% range over the last seven seasons (see graph below courtesy of www.beeinformed.org).  This level of decline is not sustainable.

The prevailing theory among scientists in the EPA, USDA and global scientific and regulatory community is that the general declining health of honey bees is related to complex interactions among multiple stressors including:

Growers, commercial beekeepers and pesticide applicators in Maine must work together to help stem this tide of pollinator decline.  The Board of Pesticide Control’s website now has a web page to provide growers and applicators with resources to help reduce the risk of pesticide applications affecting pollinators (see link below).

We all need to know which pesticides and adjuvants are toxic to pollinators and how to reduce the potential for pollinator exposure when we use those products.  Of course the most risky products are insecticides, but there are some combinations of insecticides and fungicides or certain types of surfactants that appear to be toxic to bees and other pollinators in either their adult or larval stages.

Some products (neonicotinoid and diamide insecticides at first) will have new label warnings that include this “bee icon” on the label.  It is extremely important for growers and applicators to follow the restrictions on those labels very carefully.  Other labels will continue to have language that restricts application during bloom or when bees (or other pollinators) are foraging on flowering crops or adjacent weeds.  Of course those restrictions are equally binding.

Other important practices that pesticide applicators should follow to protect pollinators include:

The Board’s new Pollinator Protection web resource page provides additional information.

Additional resources:

 If you have any questions, please contact us at pesticides@maine.gov .

Image Description: Baling hay

Image Description: Goat

Image Description: Strawberries-with-other-vegs

Image Description: garlic; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Image Description: Female black-legged tick

Image Description: honey bee loss graph in the US

Image Description: Pesticide Bee Icon

Farm Scoop – April 2014

UMaine Extension offers Hayfield,
Pasture Management Workshops

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 Bees

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 Ford

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 Adults

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 Program

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 Website

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.

 

 

Image Description: Baling hay

Image Description: A queen bee with some of her attending workers.

Image Description: sheep shearing

Image Description: Youth on Tractor

Image Description: Mason jars full of canned produce

Image Description: 4-garlic-bulbs

Explore Farming with UMaine Extension

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).


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University of Maine Cooperative Extension


Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: Agriculture
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail: extension@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System