Tri-Town Weekly Publishes Q&A with McCarty

July 31st, 2014 9:16 AM

Tri-Town Weekly interviewed Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in advance of UMaine Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. McCarty will be one of several experts on hand for guided tours of backyards in Freeport and Brunswick for the event. During McCarty’s tour in Freeport, she will demonstrate how to increase self-sufficiency to meet food needs through backyard gardening techniques and food preservation methods. “I love Maine and believe it produces incredible food. I take every opportunity to support our local food producers, and it’s easy to do so with so many talented chefs, farmers, bakers, cheese makers and brewers,” McCarty said.


UMaine Cooperative Extension Lab Bond Selected as Question 2, WABI Reports

July 24th, 2014 1:42 PM

WABI (Channel 5) reported the order of bond questions for the November ballot was determined by a drawing in Augusta. A bond referring to funds for an animal and plant disease and insect control lab administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was selected as Question 2. The question reads, “Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?”

Press Herald Advances Food Preservation Workshops

July 15th, 2014 9:15 AM


The Portland Press Herald reported on July food preservation workshops hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The workshops teach techniques for hot water bath and pressure canning, as well as fermentation and drying of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Workshops are scheduled in Lisbon Falls, South Paris and Falmouth. The cost is $15 per person for materials, and registration can be completed online.

SeacoastOnline Interviews Kaczor About Health of Maine’s Beaches

July 14th, 2014 12:49 PM


Keri Kaczor, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and coordinator of Maine Healthy Beaches, spoke with SeacoastOnline about the health of Maine’s beaches following the release of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s annual report on the water quality at beaches throughout the nation. Maine Healthy Beaches is a partnership between the UMaine Extension/Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and local municipalities. The statewide organization is dedicated to monitoring and keeping beaches clean. Kaczor said despite Maine’s low rank in the NRDC report, there are plenty of beaches in the state with nearly spotless records, and most of those beaches are in state or national parks where there is little to no developmen

Haskell Facilitates Facilitation

July 1st, 2014 11:32 AM


University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Jane Haskell specializes in strengthening skills of group facilitators so meetings can be conducted effectively and efficiently. Fishermen and graduate students are among her more than 400 clients.

This summer, Haskell, who has authored a national facilitation-training curriculum, is working with members of Wabanaki Nations.

She’s also researching how to buoy skills of facilitators who assist refugees. Specifically, she’s studying how American-born, English-speaking facilitators and group leaders ask for feedback from refugees who have recently arrived in the United States.

Refugees, she says, may not have positive experience with regard to giving comments in a formal group setting and may not understand the concept from a Western perspective or framework.

Haskell and a colleague who specializes in immigration and refugees issues are exploring how to best partner with refugees so that their perspectives are heard and understood in Maine.

Maine Sea Grant Updates Guide to Managing Hurricane Hazards

June 30th, 2014 9:26 AM


Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. All of these can affect people who live on shorefront land. To help property owners take steps now to make their homes more resilient and less damage-prone over the long run, Maine Sea Grant has updated the Maine Property Owner’s Guide to Managing Flooding, Erosion & Other Coastal Hazards.

The online resource contains detailed information on navigating state and federal regulatory and permitting processes associated with actions such as elevating a house, moving a house back away from the water, restoring dunes, creating buffers and stabilizing coastal bluffs. Normandeau Associates Environmental Consultants worked in partnership with Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension to make this new information available. Now, not only can coastal property owners learn more about the hazards they face and what can be done to protect their property, they also can access step-by-step recommendations and permitting guidance.

Examples of property owners who have taken some of these steps are highlighted in case studies from across southern Maine. Information about a tour of resilient properties to be offered in September will be online.

Property owners in Maine’s coastal communities are encouraged to review this updated guidance document as soon as possible. By taking action now to prevent hurricane damage, public and private property owners can greatly reduce their risk of damage and avoid significant costs and delays associated with repairs and restoration.

UMaine Extension’s Integrated Pest Management Program Cited in Press Herald Article

June 25th, 2014 9:39 AM


The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s integrated pest management (IPM) programs were mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about local organic strawberries being limited in Maine. Cathy Karonis of Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham said she has contemplated going organic, but can’t risk crop failure or inconsistent quality on her 14 acres of strawberries. Karonis said she follows UMaine Extension’s IPM reports and sprays when necessary. IPM is a comprehensive, decision-making process for solving pest problems. It is a sustainable approach providing economical control with the least possible hazard, to people, property and the environment.

2013 Newly Certified Master Gardener Volunteers

June 16th, 2014 2:31 PM

Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties 2013 Master Gardener Volunteer graduates(LISBON FALLS) – Recently, ten dedicated volunteers were certified in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties 2013 Master Gardener Volunteers Program. They include, from Androscoggin County, Mark Drummond, Paula Curtis-Everett, Nancy Morris, and Corbin Lichtinger, from Sagadahoc County Michelle Rines, and Ted Wolfe and from Cumberland County Teeter Bibber, Elly Dominguez, Ruth Klein and Peri Lanoue. Pictured from left to right; Ted Wolfe, Michelle Rines, Elly Dominguez, Peri Lanoue, Teeter Bibber and Mark Drummond.

The classroom portion of the 2014 program was held at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn and focused on vegetable and fruit production topics presented by Extension Educators, Extension Specialists, and the Maine Board of Pesticide Control Trainer, among others.

To complete their Master Gardener Volunteers Certification, 22 participants will complete 40 hours of volunteer time helping others learn about research-based, sustainable gardening.  A variety of volunteers projects are underway, including, growing vegetables and fruit for the Maine Harvest for Hunger Project, helping friends and neighbors with gardening questions, assisting in maintaining the gardens established at the Maine Maritime Museum, the Sagadahoc County Courthouse, the Auburn P.A.L. Center and the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope and Healing.

The 2015 training will be held at the Topsham Public Library on Thursday afternoons beginning in late February.

To learn more about the Master Gardener Volunteers program, contact Administrative Assistant KymNoelle Sposato at the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls, ME 04252 phone 353.5557 or in Maine 1.866.500.9088 or email or visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer page online.

Farm Scoop – June 2014

June 3rd, 2014 3:19 PM

MOFGA-Logo-Green-72dpi-for-web-250x237Farm & Homestead Day – June 14

Farm & Homestead Day, a free event, offers hands-on and interactive sessions on farming and homesteading skills. It will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground Education Center on Crosby Brook Road in Unity. More information can be found on the MOFGA website.


Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance

By Associate Extension Professors Leslie Forstadt and Tori Jackson, University of Maine

With the 2012 Census of Agriculture numbers available, a portrait of Maine farmers reflects lives that are complex, with much to keep in balance. There are more than 8,000 farms in Maine, an increase of 12 percent since 2002. Of these, 49 percent list their primary occupation as farming, with the average age of the principal operator 57 years old. Among women farmers, 57 percent list their primary occupation as farming, and 38 percent of them are in the “beginning farmer” category, with 10 or fewer years of farming experience on the present farm. The principal female operator is 53 years old on average, but there are young women too—24 percent of primary women farmers are under the age of 44 years.

The needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision making.

This series, Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance, provides a starting point for farm families to think about issues that range from family conversations to managing stress and sharing ideas about life and business balance.

Titles include:

#4801 Why “Thank You” Matters: Expressing Appreciation
#4802 Running Successful Farm-Family Meetings
#4803 Farm and Family—Finding Balance
#4804 Understanding Roles in the Farm Family
#4805 Recognizing the Signs of Farm Family Stress

There are rewards and stressors at each stage of farm business and farm family life. This series of publications was designed with the people of Maine’s farming industry in mind. Interpersonal and intrapersonal needs are addressed, as readers are encouraged to think about, discuss, and access resources to support the personal experiences and relationships in family farming. We hope that these fact sheets will help foster farm family sustainability.

Workshops are available on the topics listed and more! For farmers and farm service providers Contact Leslie Forstadt for more information.


Farm plot2Food Donation and Liability on the Farm

Are you interested in donating produce you cannot sell, or having gleaners come into your fields to harvest unwanted crops? Are you worried about liability issues? The Federal Public Law 104-210, The Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, may relieve any fears or trepidation related to allowing gleaning or donating to occur on your farm.

Federal law:

Maine State Revised Statutes:

The existing UMaine Extension publication Bulletin #4301, Food for Your Community: Gleaning and Sharing has this information included in it.


Vegetable Growers: Expanded Crop Label for Dual Magnum® Herbicide

Maine vegetable growers now are able to use Dual Magnum® on an expanded range of vegetable crops including: asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, garden beets, dry bulb onions, green onions, spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin.  The target weeds for this registration and use are galinsoga and yellow nutsedge.  Growers need to go to Syngenta’s web site and agree to a waiver of liability and print off the 24C label. All label instructions will be supplied after the application for use is completed. Once on the farm assist web site, click products at top left, then indemnified labels.  Create a user name and password, select Dual Magnum, and the crop.  This is ONLY for the product Dual Magnum®, EPA #100-816.  It is not for Dual II Magnum® or the generic Dual/metolochlor products. Rates are about ½ of the normal rate of Dual® on many of these crops, so growers will need to pay attention to that.


Agricultural News – Sources You Might Find of Interest

  • Harvest Public Media – Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.
  • Morning Ag Clips – This electronic ag news service collects breaking news and information for today’s farmer. They aggregate stories from the general media, industry trades, extension publications and other sources. Through their website or state-by-state daily e-blast, farmers, ranchers, industry leaders, advocates, educators and friends of farming get quick news on agriculture happenings every business day.  Morning Ag Clips New England edition is available.


usda (1)USDA Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program Sign-Up Begins –
Deadline is August 29, 2014

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that sign-up begins today for 2012 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. The program, established by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides for one final period of eligibility for producers suffering crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011, for crops intended for 2012 harvest.

“This sign-up period is only for those producers who suffered crop losses for 2012 crops before Sept. 30, 2011” said FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia.

To be eligible for SURE, a farm or ranch must have:

  • At least a 10 percent production loss on a crop of economic significance resulting from a disaster occurring on or before September 30, 2011. A crop of economic significance contributes at least five percent of the expected revenue for a producer’s farm.

Additionally, the crop must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • The crop must be considered a 2012 crop which means, in general, that the crop was intended for harvest in 2012;
  • For insured crops, the coverage period must have begun on or before Sept. 30, 2011;
  • For crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Assistance Program, the coverage period must have begun on or before Sept. 30, 2011;
  • The final planting date, according to the specific coverage for the crop, must have been on or before Sept. 30, 2011.

Note:  A producer who only plants fall seeded or spring seeded crops with a final planting date on Oct. 1, 2011 or later) cannot meet the above eligibility criteria and will not be eligible for the 2012 SURE program.

  • A policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for all economically significant crops;
  • Been physically located in a county that was declared a primary disaster county or contiguous county by the Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Disaster Designation. Without a Secretarial Disaster Designation, individual producers may be eligible if the actual production on the farm is less than 50 percent of the normal production on the farm due to a natural disaster. A “farm” for SURE purposes means the entirety of all crop acreage in all counties that a producer planted or intended to be planted for harvest for normal commercial sale or on-farm livestock feeding, including native and improved grassland intended for haying.
  • Producers considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or rancher, or a limited resource farmer may be eligible for SURE without a policy or plan of insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage. Farmers and ranchers interested in signing up must do so before the Aug. 29, 2014, deadline. For more information on the 2012 SURE program, visit any USDA Service Center or online.


NRCS Announces Deadline for Conservation Programs

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the application deadline dates for two of its conservation programs — the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program.  The Fiscal Year 2015 application deadline for both of these programs is August 15, 2014.

Agricultural producers and foresters are encouraged to sign up now for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides financial and technical assistance to address varying natural resource priorities. The Fiscal Year 2015 funding consideration application deadline for most EQIP fund pool categories will be August 15, 2014.  This does not include the EQIP National Water Quality Initiative and Conservation Innovation Grants.  These deadlines are yet to be determined.

The August 15, 2014 deadline for 2015 funding consideration is for both applications for EQIP local Field Office fund pool categories (such as animal waste, cropland, forestry, seasonal high tunnels, pasture, and wildlife) and the statewide fund pool categories (Beginning Farmer, Socially Disadvantaged, Tribal Projects, Water Conservation/Irrigation, Aquatic Organism Passage Projects, Conservation Activity Plans, On-Farm Energy and Organic).  The August 15, 2014 signup deadline is an extension to the previously posted July 1, 2014 deadline for the EQIP local Field Office fund pool, or “general” categories.

Agricultural producers are also encouraged to sign up now for the Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA), which also has a Fiscal Year 2015 funding consideration application deadline of August 15, 2014.  AMA assists agricultural producers to manage risk and voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation practices into their farming operations. For 2015, Maine NRCS will again be offering financial assistance for irrigation systems and  introducing an opportunity for funding deer exclusion fencing for orchards through the AMA program.

There is a continuous, year-round sign-up for these two programs, but applications submitted by August 15, 2014 will be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2015.  Proposals submitted after that date will be held for Fiscal Year 2016 funding consideration.

Interested landowners should visit their local NRCS office located at the USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. USDA Service Centers are listed online, or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.

More information on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program can be found online.


Seeds for Veterans

If you are or know of a family of a military veteran, Burpee Seeds has a special program with free seeds. UMaine Extension is partnering with Maine Farmer Veteran Coalition in making these seeds available in Maine. To obtain the “welcome home” packet of garden seeds, contact Extension at 1.800.287.1471 or email Lynne Hazelton. Use Seeds for Veterans in the subject line of your email message.

UMaine Extension Offers Harvest Preservation Workshop

May 20th, 2014 10:18 AM
canned picklesUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Preserving the Harvest workshop will be held Tuesday, June 17, 4:30-7:30 p.m., at Little Ridge Farm, 101 Gould Road, Lisbon Falls.

UMaine Extension staff members will lead the workshop, which will include hands-on, USDA-recommended hot water bath canning and freezing food preservation methods. Learn to preserve pickles, jam, vegetables, and fruits, as well as rhubarb orange chutney. Home food preservation allows for year-round consumption of locally grown foods and enables preservers to control additives, including sugar and sodium.

Fresh produce, canning jars, and other canning equipment will be provided. Participants should bring a potholder. Cost is $15 per person; partial scholarships are available. Register by June 10 at For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (toll-free in Maine).