Farm Scoop March 2012

March 12th, 2012 10:17 AM

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.











Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

March 5th, 2012 4:31 PM

Pollinators are essential to our environment. They are responsible for the reproduction of nearly 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants and fundamental to agriculture and natural ecosystems. More than two-thirds of the world’s crop species are dependent on pollination. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems, since their activities are ultimately responsible for the seeds and fruits that feed everything from songbirds to black bears.

Conservation of pollinating insects is critically important.  In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released a report calling attention to the decline of pollinators. The report urged agencies and organizations to increase awareness and protect pollinator habitat. The Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course was developed to address this need.

The course will include both classroom and field training components, and is approved for two pesticide applicator recertification credits.  University of Maine’s Dr. Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology and Insect Pest Management, will be a guest speaker for the day.

When:  May 15, 2012  9:00 am – 4:00 pm EDT

Where:  Unity, Maine

Fee:  $45/person, $35/person for NRCS personnel. Some scholarships are available.

Registrants will receive the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Toolkit which includes the Xerces’ publication, Attracting Native Pollinators. Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies, as well as habitat management guidelines and relevant USDA-NRCS and extension publications.

Further information, including event registration, is available online.



Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties Extension Association Annual Meeting

February 13th, 2012 11:21 AM


The Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties Extension Association (ASCEA) will hold its Annual Meeting on Monday, March 12, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office, 24 Main Street, in Lisbon Falls. New officers will be elected and a potluck dinner will follow. The meeting is open to the public.

The ASCEA is actively recruiting new members. For more information or to RSVP please contact Dana Rickman or call 207-353-5550. UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals.




Spring into Farm-to-School!

February 2nd, 2012 11:40 AM

Spring into Farm-to-School!

Are you currently involved, or would like to become involved, in farm-to-school programming?  Please join us!

Who? Teachers, Administrators, Master Gardener Volunteers, Parents, Community Partners


  • Learn techniques to start and sustain farm-to-school programs
  • Work through common challenges, and leave with action steps
  • Learn examples of service-learning related to farm-to-school programming
  • Share your existing or future school gardens & food/agriculture curricula

Where? Multi-Purpose Room, Brunswick High School (116 Maquoit Rd., Brunswick)

When? Monday, February 6th from 4:30–6:30 pm (Snow date: February 8th)


  • Network with other teachers, community partners, Master Gardeners, parents, administrators, and stakeholders
  • Continuing Education Units (0.2 CEUs) will be available
  • Be entered into a raffle for a Maine School Garden Network tote bag, a copy of Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils: A Hands-On Resource for Teachers or snow-tubing, tobogganing, and lift passes from the Snow Bowl in Camden!
  • All participants will be entered in grand prize drawing for a Johnny’s Selected Seeds cedar cold frame

RSVP to Genna Cherichello or 207-832-0343 with your name, affiliation, phone number, special accommodations and dietary needs.

Co-sponsored by The Maine Farm-to-School Network, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and ACCESS Health.

UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.


UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Training in Lisbon Falls

January 25th, 2012 11:22 AM

Master Gardener Volunteers working in the garden; photo by Edwin RemsbergAn eight-week course for those interested in becoming a certified University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer will be offered beginning March 20.

UMaine Extension educator Tori Jackson will collaborate with experts from around the state to present sustainable vegetable and fruit gardening and volunteer training. Some open seats remain in the class and the deadline for completed applications has been extended to Friday, Feb. 3.

Sessions will be held beginning March 20, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons 12:30-4 p.m. at the UMaine Extension Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties office at 24 Main St. in Lisbon Falls. The course fee is on a sliding scale from $110-$330 and a limited number of scholarships are available. Enrollment will be capped at 20.

For more information, or to request an application, contact Dana Rickman at (207) 353-5550, 1-800-287-1458 (toll free in Maine) or email UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals.

Applications for National 4-H Trips

January 17th, 2012 3:09 PM

Maine 4-H supports several great opportunities for National 4-H trips for ages 14+. Applications deadlines are coming right up! Please email Sarah Sparks if you have any questions, or call 207-353-5550 or 1-800-287-1458 (toll-free in Maine).

Citizenship Washington Focus

Start making plans now to visit our Nation’s Capitol during the week of July 1 to 7, 2012. CWF is a leadership program conducted by the National 4-H Council for high school youth ages 15 to 18. Delegations of 4-Hers from across the country spend six days touring the city and attending leadership skill-building workshops. This summer, the Maine delegation will travel on July 1 to July 7, 2012. You will stay at the National 4-H Conference Center just outside Washington, DC. Visiting the most popular sites in Washington will be a part of the trip, including spending the 4th of July in our nation’s capitol. Learn more about CWF online .

Until we have confirmed the number of participants, we will not know the final cost to each delegate. This is because the number of delegates attending helps us to determine if the group will travel by bus or air. We estimate the cost to each participant this year to be in the range of $350-$550. There is a mandatory orientation for Maine delegates on April 28th.

Participation information and $25 deposit due to Androscoggin/Sagadahoc County office by February 24th.


National 4-H Congress or National 4-H Conference

National 4-H Trips are excellent opportunities to meet 4-H members from across the nation. Participants learn about many career options, and learn through educational workshops at Congress or become a part of a team making recommendations to National 4-H Council at Conference. You can learn more about applying for these trips online.

Any Maine 4-H Youth, ages 14 to 18 is eligible to apply. Application packets must be sent to your county office and postmarked by Friday, March 16, 2012.


2012 Maine Garden Day – Save the Date!

January 6th, 2012 4:12 PM


The 2012 Maine Garden Day will be Saturday, April 14, at Lewiston High School.  More information will be available soon!

Master Gardening Volunteer Training March 2012!

December 2nd, 2011 9:24 AM

An eight-week course for those interested in becoming certified UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will be offered in March 2012. UMaine Extension Educator Tori Jackson will collaborate with experts from around the state to present sustainable fruit and vegetable horticulture, basics of garden design and volunteer training. The deadline to request an application is December 21, 2011 and completed applications must be received by January 20, 2012.

Sessions will be held March 20 through May 10, 2012, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the UMaine Extension Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties office located at 24 Main Street in Lisbon Falls. The course fee is on a sliding scale from $110-$330 and a limited number of scholarships are available. Enrollment will be capped at 20. For more information or to request an application, contact Dana Rickman at (207) 353-5550, 1-800-287-1458 (toll free in Maine) or by email. UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals.

Maine Home Garden News October 2011

October 6th, 2011 2:40 PM

See what’s happening in the garden this month with Maine Home Garden News!  This monthly update is provided by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension as a reliable and timely resource for Maine home gardeners.  Practical tips and articles corresponding to the growing season appear here, or in your email’s inbox, for easy access during the year.

4-H Volunteer Forum: Robotics!

September 9th, 2011 11:48 AM

Are you a 4-H Volunteer interested in learning more about robotics?  UMaine Extension is offering a forum dedicated to training and networking with other volunteers.  Please join us!

What: Hands On RoboLab Software Training with Tom Barrowman, LEGO® Education.  Laptops, with installed software, are required for this training.  If you need access to the RoboLab software, please contact Sarah Sparks or call 207-353-5550 x15.  Please bring a copy of the 4-H Robotics Curriculum if you have one.  Additional activities are planned following the morning training.

When: Monday, October 17, 2011  9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  RoboLab training is scheduled 9:30-noon.  The afternoon session begins at noon with bring-your-own lunch, and includes

  • Networking with other 4-H Robotics Volunteers
  • Summary of Robotics Opportunities in Maine
  • Knowing and Using 4-H Curriculum
  • Creating Age-Appropriate Activities

Where: UMaine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth ME.  Click here for directions.

Cost: Free

Pre-registration is required: Please contact Lisa Waters or call 207-781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (toll-free in Maine). TDD 1-800-287-8957.

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 Sarah Sparks at 1-800-287-1458 to discuss their needs at least 10 days in advance.