Mark Hutton, a vegetable specialist and associate professor of vegetable crops with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about Maine’s pumpkin crop in the latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Hutton said overall it was a pretty good year for pumpkin production in Maine despite excessive rainfall.
A free panel discussion about genetically modified foods will be held Wednesday, November 13, 2013 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., at Kimball Hall at the University of Maine at Machias (UMM).
Genetically modified foods have had genes from other plants or animals inserted into their genetic codes. Alterations done in a laboratory are to improve certain traits, such as increased resistance to pests, herbicides and drought.
Panelists include Jim Gerritsen, an Aroostook County farmer and president of Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Eric Jones, assistant professor of plant biology at UMM; and Andrei Alyokhin, professor and graduate coordinator with UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology. Following each panelist’s presentation, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions. The event, which is open to the public, will be streamed live over the Internet and archived for future viewing at www.machias.edu/umm-live.
This is the second panel in the Food and Community Series sponsored by Psychology and Community Studies at UMM, UMaine Extension and the Libra Foundation. The third panel discussion, slated for the night of December 11, will be about the Washington County food system. For more information, contact Alan Majka at 207.255.3345 or Meghan Duff at 207.255.1227. To request a disability accommodation, call Jo Ellen Scribner at 207.255.1228.
David Yarborough, a wild blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with The Ellsworth American about the demand for blueberries. Yarborough said frost early in the growing season in Quebec reduced by half the province’s blueberry harvest. He said a smaller harvest in Canada will result in more demand for Maine’s wild blueberries; estimates predict a higher than average crop of 90 million pounds.
David Yarborough, a wild blueberry specialist and horticulture professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Associated Press about this year’s blueberry crop. Yarborough said Maine’s wild blueberry fields for the most part escaped widespread damage from a harmful new fruit fly during the summer harvest, resulting in what is expected to be an above-average crop. Boston Herald, The Bellingham Herald, Brattleboro Reformer, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2) and Boston.com were among several news organizations to carry the AP report.
Rick Kersbergen, sustainable dairy and forage systems educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article on the variety of Maine farm shares. Kersbergen said popular farmers markets, such as those in Belfast and Orono, are “just about impossible to get into,” and diversifying farm shares is one way farmers can continue to directly sell products to consumers.
Join with other farmers, University of Maine faculty and UMaine Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share information and farming experiences on November 2 – 4, 2013. Full details, including registration and scholarship application forms, are available on the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) website. For further information or questions, please contact Andrew Marshall at MOFGA or call 207.568.4142. The conference will be held at Point Lookout Resort, 67 Atlantic Hwy, Northport ME 04849. Full conference registration $150/person or $50/person half-days. Limited scholarships available. The conference is approved for up to 3 pesticide applicator recertification credits on November 3 and up to 3 more credits on November 4.
With harvest season underway, many Maine farmers and farm workers are operating farm tractors in fields and on roads. To promote workplace safety, the Maine AgrAbility Program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One, developed a brightly colored decal to be applied to tractor fenders, dashboards and windshields. The decal reminds operators to work safely.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s AgrAbility Program will give as many as five free safety stickers to each farm in Maine. To order, contact Maine AgrAbility Coordinator Lani Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.944.1533.
Maine AgrAbility is an outreach program for farmers and farm workers with disabilities or chronic illnesses to help them keep farming. Maine AgrAbility is sponsored by UMaine Extension in collaboration with Alpha One and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. More information about Maine AgrAbility is online (umaine.edu/agrability).
Copies of the 2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guide are now available at Highmoor Farm. Cost of the guide is $10.00 plus $2.53 postage for a total of $12.53. Copies of the 2012-2013 New England Vegetable Management Guide with color pictures of the important pests and diseases are also available at Highmoor Farm. Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $3.43 postage for a total of $28.43. To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or email@example.com. Members of the Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association (MVSFGA) or the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association receive free copies of the guides. For MVSFGA membership information, contact Bill Jordan at 799.1040.
A 4-Part Webinar Series for US Sheep Producers will be offered Tuesdays, November 19 & 26, December 3 & 10, 2013. This series was developed jointly by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, with Susan Schoenian of the University of Maryland Extension and Roger High of Ohio State University. This free, 4-part webinar series will provide sheep producers with the necessary skills to effectively market sheep/lamb meat to ethnic communities in their respective market areas. The series includes four live webinars, associated readings, activities, assignments, and group discussions.
For more information, contact Richard Brzozowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.781.6099.
As we head towards winter, you may be looking to buy or sell high quality mulch or feed for your farm. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension maintains two online directories for farmers to list the straw or hay they have for sale. Listings include location, contact information, products for sale and pricing. You can create your free listing on the Straw Directory or the Hay Directory with a simple online form or by emailing Sonia Antunes at email@example.com. Buyers will find listings throughout Maine and in Canada.
Berries and bramble fruits are popular farm enterprises, and for good reason: when planned and managed well, they can be very profitable, and they make a great add-on to existing enterprises. Whether you’re totally new to farming or are an existing farmer considering diversifying into berry crops, the Cornell Small Farms Program’s online course BF 122: Berry Production — Getting Started with Production and Marketing provides a thorough introduction. You’ll hear practical, on-the-ground tips from successful farmers as well as the latest research and recommendations on site selection, cultural requirements and variety recommendations for major and minor berry fruits, post-harvest handling, and marketing berries.
The course runs Thurs. Nov 21 – Thurs. Dec 12, with webinars twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EST (skipping Thanksgiving on Thurs. Nov 28). The cost is $200, but multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-122-berry-production for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline.
The Maine Beef Producers Association (MBPA) will hold its Twenty-fourth Annual Beef Conference titled “Keeping Your Herd Healthy,” Saturday, December 7, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Bangor, ME with registration open at 8:00 a.m. This year, MBPA has joined forces with the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) to host the conference with sponsors University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Industry sponsors include Hilton Garden Inn. Speakers include Walter Whitcomb, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Dr. Simon Alexander VMD, Exeter Veterinary Services, Cindy Kilgore, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Livestock Specialist, Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner, University of Maine Extension Veterinarian & Director of the Animal Diagnostic Lab. Non-member registration, including lunch, is $60 for the first person from the farm and $40 for all others from that farm. Discounts for MGFN and MBPA association members are available, as well as a student rate. For registration details, contact Melissa Libby at 1.800.287.7170 in Maine or 207.581.2788 outside of Maine. Registration details will be available on the UMaine Extension Beef website. UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals. Any person with a disability who needs accommodations for this program should contact Melissa Libby at 1.800.287.7170 to discuss their needs at least seven days in advance.
Pesticide Applicator License Exam Training will be offered at Highmoor Farm on November 14, 2013. The Core pesticide training and exam will be offered in the morning, followed by lunch. There will be Orchard Fruit Commodity AND Vegetable Commodity trainings and exams offered concurrently in the afternoon. This is a great opportunity to gain certification credits. For detailed information, visit our website.
We hope to see you there!
Image Description: Work, Keep Farming Safely
Image Description: lambs in barn
Image Description: round bales of hay piled in a field; photo by Edwin Remsberg
Image Description: beef cattle; photo by Edwin Remsberg
The latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources” cites several University of Maine projects related to Maine’s potato harvest and quotes Andrew Plant, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Aroostook County. Plant said The County’s nutrient-rich Caribou soil and climate — warm days and cool nights — offer ideal growing conditions for potatoes. The blog also states UMaine’s Potato Breeding Program is close to releasing seeds for new potato varieties to the public; and researchers at the USDA’s New England Plant, Soil and Water Research Lab at UMaine have been evaluating how cover crops, rotation schedules, soil amendments and irrigation affect potato crop production and yield.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension invites sheep producers to participate in a free, four-part webinar series designed to help them explore the feasibility of marketing lamb and mutton to ethnic consumers.
“Ethnic Marketing of Lamb and Mutton – An Educational Program for U.S. Sheep Producers” will be broadcast live on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. on November 19 and 26, and December 3 and 10. Presentations will be archived for later viewing.
Sheep marketing experts will be featured in each 60- to 90-minute presentation. Readings, self-driven activities, assignments and group discussions will supplement the sessions; which will also be useful for goat producers.
November 19 – Ethnic Market Background
November 26 – Understanding the Ethnic Consumer
December 3 – Understanding and Evaluating Your Market Options
December 10 – Your Marketing Plan
Richard Brzozowski of UMaine Cooperative Extension, Susan Schoenian of the University of Maryland Extension, and Roger High of the Ohio State University designed the educational outreach series.
Please visit the UMaine Sheep and Goats website for more information and to register online. For disability accommodations, contact Richard Brzozowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.781.6099 (TDD 1.800.287.8957).
The latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources,” previewed a two-night honeybee disease and pest management workshop at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s office in Falmouth on November 5 and 12, 2013. Master Beekeeper Erin MacGregor-Forbes will teach the workshop.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with Donna Coffin, extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, about the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE) that awards grants to farmers. Coffin said the program allows farmers to test out ideas that could improve their business to help them determine if the idea could be profitable.