by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties
Earth Smart-“Farming for the Future” A Maine Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction and Certification Program
Earth Smart is a Maine agricultural emissions reduction certification program developed by collaborating partners. Its purpose is to provide a whole farm assessment and help farmers prioritize recommended practices that will reduce emissions on the farm while providing additional co-benefits. The program will recognize farmers for the implementation of good agricultural practices and will help position them to take advantage of current and future regional and national carbon offset markets.
When: June 20, 2012 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Maple Hill Farm Inn, 11 Inn Road, Hallowell, Maine
Fee: $35 payable by June 13 to Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District. Program fee includes continental breakfast and morning break, lunch and afternoon break.
Registration: More information and registration is available online, or contact Jane at 207-753-9400 X 400.
A Marketing Guide and Toolkit for Maine Farmers’ Markets Accepting Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) was developed by the Downeast Business Alliance with funding from a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Provided are many lists of suggestions, ideas and planning help, as well as a CD with resources from many organizations which have sections relevant to all Farmers’ Markets accepting EBT for SNAP recipients. Also included on the CD are graphic templates for a variety of common print materials which you can customize for use in your own Market. The goal of this project is to raise awareness state-wide about the increasing numbers of Markets accepting EBT, and to provide a consistent, easy-to-recognize “brand” for Markets to use.
To request the CD contact: Sarah Joy Chaples, Down East Business Alliance, PO Box 299, 248 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, ME 04605 phone 207-610-5942.
Photovoltaic Greenhouse Survey Request
Who we are: MaineAsia is a consulting firm based out of Portland, ME. We have received a grant to do research of a very promising new technology that will make greenhouse growing more affordable to growers.
The problem we’re addressing: It is difficult for Maine growers to successfully grow year-round due to the inherent challenges of low light and high-energy costs (Maine has the 12th highest electricity costs in the nation). The cost of greenhouses, heat and supplemental lighting needed for year round growing have kept many small and medium-sized growers from entering the market.
Our solution: The Photovoltaic Greenhouse is a new type of power generation system that integrates a proprietary semi-transparent thin-film photovoltaic technology into the construction of a glass greenhouse system. The result is a dual use electricity-generating greenhouse that makes use of the land below the solar panels for indoor growing, while also generating electricity into the grid at utility scale. The result is a warmer greenhouse in winter, a cooler greenhouse in summer, and a valuable source of energy income that can also be used to provide supplemental light during low light months, or to cover capital costs.
What we ask from you: We are seeking knowledgeable leaders in the agricultural and greenhouse industry to help us to understand the market potential, to provide feedback on the technical and economic model of the greenhouse and to provide feedback into various design elements that are being planned. There are two ways to help:
- Complete our online survey and be entered to win a cash drawing
- Participate in a focus group and be compensated for your time
More information: For more information please contact Amy Power or call 207-522-3934.
Limiting Agri-tourism Liability
This current legislature passed a bill (LD 16055) to limit the liability for farmers engaging in agri-tourism activities such as farming, harvest-your-own activities, or other attractions related to farming provided participants are informed about the inherent risks of these activities on a farm. See the full text of the bill here.
For purposes of this law, a notice of the inherent risks of agri-tourism activities may be satisfied either by a statement signed by the participant or a sign or signs prominently displayed at the place or places where the agri-tourism activities take place. The statement or sign must contain the following information:
“WARNING: Under Maine law, there is no liability for injury to a participant in an agri-tourism activity conducted at this agri-tourism location if such injury results from the inherent risks of the agri-tourism activity. Inherent risks of agri-tourism activities include, among others, risks of injury inherent to land, equipment and animals, as well as the potential for injury if you act in a negligent manner. You are assuming the risk of participating in this agri-tourism activity.”
The message on the sign must be in black letters at least one inch in height and the sign or signs must be placed in a clearly visible location on or near the places where the agri-tourism professional conducts agri-tourism activities.
New National NRCS Nutrient Management Standard
NRCS announced the release of a new national NRCS Nutrient Management 590 standard and policy. Nationally there has been a lot of interest surrounding this revision. Individual states have until Jan. 1, 2013 to come into alignment with the changes. This will include the development and approval of a Phosphorous Index for Maine. There is some work to be done. Until we reach that point, we will function under our existing standard. The paragraphs below give a brief summary of the high points/changes.
What are the major changes to the revised standard?
• The revised national standard incorporates the latest science and includes existing and emerging technologies such as precision agriculture, remote sensing, adaptive nutrient management and enhanced efficiency fertilizer products such as inhibitors, slow release fertilizers and nitrogen and phosphorus enhancement products. It establishes the conditions when nitrogen and phosphorus risk assessments are required.
• Like the 2006 national nutrient management standard, the revised standard precludes that nutrients should not be applied to frozen or snow covered ground or saturated soil. Exceptions can be granted when local water quality officials specify low risk conditions.
• Wind and water erosion must be controlled to soil loss tolerance (“T”), but exceptions can be granted when achieving “T” is not feasible and mitigating conservation practices are installed to reduce erosion and protect water quality.
• The new standard emphasizes the importance of coordinating conservation practices designed to avoid, control and trap nutrients before they leave farm fields. The standard reinforces the 4Rs approach-right amount, right source, right placement and right timing.
Source: Alice Begin, NRCS Resource Conservationist, Bangor, ME 207-990-9568 email@example.com
Hay Makers Handbook – For a free copy, please contact 1-800-287-1471.
New Soil Test
A newly developed soil test determines microbial life levels in soil. More information on the soil biology test is available online.