by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties
Maine Hay School Webinar Series
A five-session webinar series, the Maine Hay School, began on March 1, 2012. This series of one-hour webinars is designed to instruct beginner and experienced hay producers in Maine about selecting, growing, making, storing, and marketing the best quality hays or other preserved forages possible at a profit. All of these webinars will be recorded and free for the viewing.
Links to the next sessions of the Maine Hay School are as follows:
Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 2 – March 8th, 7-8 PM
Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 3 – March 15th, 7-8 PM
Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 4 – March 22nd, 7-8 PM
Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 5 – March 29th, 7-8 PM
To participate, simply enter the webinar as a ‘guest’.
Beginning Farmer Series Scheduled
Interested in starting a farm? Getting information at the outset can put you on the road to success by saving you time, money, and energy. University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a 5-session Beginning Farmer Series in Waldo starting March 13, 2012. Classes will be held on Thursdays from 6:30 – 9:00 PM. UMaine Extension Educators Rick Kersbergen and Caragh Fitzgerald will collaborate with farmers and other experts from around the region to present this series. Novice farmers will be given the tools to evaluate and choose enterprises, develop a business plan, and market their products. Cost is $60 per farm and includes course books and other program materials. Registration ends March 7. For more information, contact Caragh Fitzgerald or call (207) 622-7546 (toll free 1-800-287-1481 in Maine), TDD 1-800-287-8957.
Maine Grass Farmers Network 8th Annual Grazing Conference
The Maine Beef Producers Association and Maine Grass Farmers Network present the 8th Annual Grazing Conference on Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, ME. Topics will include KVCC’s New Role in Agricultural Education, Managed Grazing Systems, Forage Species Selection and Management, Marketing Your Farm Products, Finishing Cattle on Grass, Pork Cutting Demonstration and more. More information, including registration, is available online.
Egg Producer School
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is partnering with the Maine Poultry Growers Association in presenting a day-long Egg Producer School. The school is scheduled from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Maine. The cost to participate in this practical school is $25.00 per person. This fee includes lunch and reference materials. This day-long school is designed for individuals who have (or plan to have) a small-scale or mid-size egg production enterprise. The instructors for the school are University of Connecticut Extension Poultry Specialist, Dr. Michael Darre and UMaine Extension Educator, Richard Brzozowski. Participants will be equipped with information and skills to assist them in reaching & managing a profitable egg enterprise. For more information contact UMaine Extension at 207-781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (toll-free in Maine) or email Colleen Hoyt.
Sheep Shearing Schools
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Maine Sheep Breeders Association to offer three sheep shearing schools Spring 2012. The first school is a blade shearing school using non-electric hand shears and will feature blade shearer Kevin Ford. The school is scheduled Friday, March 30, at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, ME, starting at 8:00 AM. Enrollment is limited to eight students. The fee is $80 per student. Spectators are welcome. The other two sheep shearing schools are beginner level schools and will feature teams of instructors. These day-long schools will be held Saturday, April 21 in Windham, ME, and Saturday, April 28 in Littleton, ME. Enrollment is limited to 22 students per school, and each costs $35 per person. For more information or to register, please contact UMaine Extension at 207-781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (toll-free in Maine).
Focus Group for Maine Land Use Futures Research
Michelle Johnson, Ph.D. student in Ecology and Environmental Science, and Research Fellow for the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, would like to invite you to participate in a University of Maine-led focus group related to agricultural land use in the Casco Bay/Lower Androscoggin Watershed region. The purpose of this focus group is to identify key factors that determine what makes parcels in the region suitable or unsuitable for agriculture. The outcomes of the agriculture focus group will be combined with information from other land use focus groups (forestry, development, ecosystem conservation) the team will hold. The information will then be presented in a map-based format to identify potential future conflicts and compatibilities of the various land uses.
The focus group will be held between March 26 – April 6, and will run 3 hours (morning or afternoon) with refreshments available. The location will be either USM’s Portland campus or the UMaine Extension office in Falmouth. Those with experience in agricultural activities in the Casco Bay and Lower Androscoggin Watersheds are being invited to participate. The group will participate in discussion about suitability of key factors for agriculture, with a goal of creating a list of the factors and identifying the relative importance of each factor. If you are a farmer interested in participating, please contact Michelle Johnson or call 207-852-1181.
Dairy Producers Reminded of MILC Program
The Maine Farm Service Agency would like to remind dairy producers of some important program eligibility requirements for payment under the Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC). FSA Androscoggin/Sagadahoc County Executive Director Marcia Hall says dairy prices may authorize potential MILC payments, but all dairy producers need to be aware of the program requirements should those conditions arise.
Dairy operators currently enrolled in MILC, need to notify the local county office if there have been any changes to their dairy operation. If a payment rate is announced, dairy producers enrolled in the MILC program will need to provide the local county office with documentation showing the eligible milk production and commercial milk marketing for the months with a MILC payment rate in effect.
MILC program participants are also required to comply with FSA’s Adjusted Gross Income requirements each fiscal year. This certification, on a CCC-931, must be completed prior to a payment being disbursed. New dairies that have not previously participated in the MILC program will need to fill out the CCC-580, Milk Income Loss Contract. For more information contact: Marcia Hall or call 207/753-9400 ext. 2.
Starting from Scratch with a Smart Phone, Mobile Device or Computer? We can help!
If you want to learn how to use a smart phone, iPad, laptop or other mobile device for your farm business, contact Tori at 1-800-287-1458 or Dick at 1-800-287-1471 at UMaine Extension. A smart phone or computer might make sense for you in more efficient communications, marketing, management and making business decisions. It is never too late to start using such devices.
Do You Have an Email Address?
Getting this newsletter and other announcements from UMaine Extension and other agricultural groups is quicker and less expensive via email address. If you have an email address and would like to be added to our mailing list, please send a request to Dana Rickman. Thank you.