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Policies and Procedures: Aroostook Farm & Jacob Shur Facility

Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
University of Maine

Updated August 13, 2010

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Introduction | Staff, Contact Information, and Availability | Emergency Contacts | Facilities Description
Facility Acknowledgement | Regulatory Oversight | Superintendent and User Responsibilities
Operational Policies — Facilities | Operational Policies— Equipment and Vehicles |
Operational Policies—Field Operations|Operational Policies—Events | Request Forms |
Facility Use Charge | Aroostook Farm Advisory Committee

Introduction

This document describes the policies and procedures for use of Aroostook Farm. For the purposes of the document Aroostook Farm includes Aroostook Farm and Jacob Shur Research Facility (Shur Facility). Aroostook Farm supports teaching, research and public outreach activities in the areas of potato and other crop production, crop science, and organic agriculture.

Aroostook Farm is available for use by faculty and students of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture (NSFA) and University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMaine Cooperative Extension). Aroostook Farm is also available for use by other University of Maine faculty and students at the discretion of the associate director and facility superintendent. Faculty with appointments in the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station will have priority for land and greenhouse/laboratory allocations.

Please note that information on safety policies is provided elsewhere (“Safety Compliance and Training” on the Aroostook Farm web page). The policies and procedures for the Aroostook Farm apply to all facility users including faculty, instructors, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and student employees.

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Staff, Contact Information, and Availability

Superintendent

Randy Smith, Farm Superintendent
(207)-762-8281 – office
(207)-227-1281 – mobile
(207)-764-6740 – fax
randy.smith@maine.edu – email

Support Staff and Student Employees

The Aroostook Farm employs seven full-time employees, five temporary employees during planting and harvest and as many as five student employees. Five technical staff, who work closely with faculty researchers from the University of Maine campus are stationed at the farm. The technician who leads the Potato Seed Testing Laboratory in Presque Isle also is administratively connected to Aroostook Farm. Employees are generally not available for research or project activity. It is the responsibility of facility users to provide staffing for their projects. Users must notify the superintendent of new project employees. It is recommended that faculty introduce new employees to the superintendent and other facility staff.

Mailing Address

Aroostook Farm
59 Houlton Road
Presque Isle, ME
Main Office: (207)-762-8281

Jacob Shur Research Facility
43 Crystal Road
Island Falls, ME 04747
Maine Office: (207)-463-2902

Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. Use of the facility outside of business hours is allowed with approval of the superintendent.

Emergency Contacts

Emergency 911
UM Public Safety 581-4040
Randy Smith, Superintendent 227-1281
Safety and Environmental Management 581-4055
Maine Agricultural and Forest Exp. Station 581-3205
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture 581-3202

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Facilities Description

Aroostook Farm

The Aroostook Farm supports teaching, research, and public outreach activities associated with potato and small grain production, and crop science. Potatoes, oats, and timothy/clover for green manure are raised on the farm’s 460 acres.

The Aroostook Farm complex consists of a variety of buildings and amenities:

  • (2) equipment storage buildings
  • (1) barn with 12 lockers
  • (1) utility building
  • (2) plastic greenhouses
  • (1) permanent greenhouse for winter use
  • Superintendent’s house
  • (1) west annex building for persticide storage and crop material drying
  • (1) Geddes Simpson potato storage
  • (1) mechanics shop
  • (1) potato breeding building with potato storage
  • (1) main laboratory with offices
  • (1) greenhouse support building for greenhouse materials storage
  • (1) Maine Potato Board potato storage research building

Jacob Shur Research Facility

The Shur Facility primarily supports teaching, research, and public outreach associated with crop science, horticulture, and nuclear potato seed production.

Shur Facility buildings support the USDA’s national potato breeding effort based in Beltsville, MD, the propagation of clean, nuclear potato seed that is available to the potato industry, and the activities of researchers conducting studies on genetic traits of several crops.

The Shur Facility consists of a variety of buildings and amenities:

  • (3) 34′x120′ plastic Quonset greenhouses.
  • (1) main lab building with offices and grow rooms with lighting.
  • (1) attached machine and potato storage building.

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Facility Acknowledgment

When users acknowledge that project activity occurred at the Aroostook Farm or Jacob Shur Facility, identify the facility as Aroostook Farm or Jacob Shur Facility, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. An image of the college logo is also available.

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Regulatory Oversight

Due to the nature of research and teaching activities, the Aroostook Farm is subject to regulatory oversight from federal, state, private, and university agencies:

  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Maine Board of Pesticides Control
  • University of Maine Department of Safety and Environmental Management
  • Maine Department of Labor

Prior to the start of research and teaching activities, users should consult with the superintendent to ensure the proposed activity is compliant with regulations set forth by the above agencies and associations.

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Superintendent and User Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Superintendent

  • Oversees daily management of Aroostook Farm operations.
  • Facilitates research, teaching, and outreach activities of faculty and students.
  • Maintains communication with facility users on projects and activities.
  • Provides recommendations to facility users on facility, and field use.
  • Receives and approves requests for facility space, and field space.
  • Supervises staff and students employed by the Aroostook Farm.
  • Ensures safety and environmental compliance by all users and staff and notifies supervisors of noncompliance.
  • Maintains the facility infrastructure and associated equipment.
  • The superintendent is the primary contact to the University of Maine’s Facilities Management and outside contractors regarding infrastructural additions, maintenance, and repair.
  • Oversees all pesticide applications and maintains appropriate documentation for the Maine Board of Pesticides Control.
  • The superintendent reports to the associate director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.

Responsibilities of Facility Users

  • Provide superintendent with advance notification of needs and future requests.
  • Maintain communication with the superintendent regarding project activity.
  • Adhere to all safety and use policies.
  • Ensure that all staff, student employees, and students enrolled in courses complete all required safety training before working or using the Aroostook Farm facilities.
  • Supervise employees, student employees, and students using the facilities under their direction.
  • Adhere to all operational policies listed below.
  • Begin using space, fields, or animals only after approval of such request has been granted.
  • Notify superintendent when project or course is complete.
  • Provide material and supplies needed for research, experiments, or teaching.
  • Manage and maintain experiments, research projects, and course work.
  • Clean up all areas after each activity (classroom, barns, handling areas, break rooms, computer laboratories, etc.).
  • Dispose of used supplies, other items into proper waste receptacles.

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Operational Policies—Facilities

Security, Safety, Chemicals, Pesticides, and Pharmaceuticals

Security

The Aroostook Farm is open to the public and for general use during regular university business hours (7:30-4:30 M-F). After-hours use for teaching, research, and other working activities is permitted after consultation with the superintendent. After-hours users of the facility are required to notify the farm superintendent concerning their activities. After hours use of Shur Facility is also permitted upon consultation with the facility manager.

Safety

All facility users must adhere to all university, college, and Aroostook Farm safety policies. All required training and documentation must be completed before conducting any activity associated with the Aroostook Farm facilities and lands. Information on safety policies can be found via the link for “Safety Compliance and Training” on the Aroostook Farm web page.

Chemical Use

Chemicals may not be brought into the Aroostook Farm without approval of the superintendent and/or Shur Facility facility manager and submission of material safety data sheets (MSDS). Chemical use requires appropriate safety training. Chemical storage space is limited and approved chemicals should be purchased in the smallest quantity possible.

Pesticides

Only licensed Aroostook Farm personnel may handle or apply pesticides. All pesticides brought onto the Aroostook Farm must be approved by the superintendent and/or Shur Facility facility manager. Permission and MSDS sheets are required before storing pesticides in pesticide- storage buildings. Pesticide storage at Aroostook Farm is located in the west annex building. Shur Facility has a segregated pesticide-storage room in the lab building. All containers must be clearly labeled with the owner’s name. Pesticide-storage space is limited, which makes material disposal high priority. It is the user’s responsibility to remove and properly process unused pesticides for disposal. This procedure often involves a chemical pick-up by the Department of Safety and Environmental Management. Pesticides being evaluated for industry should be returned to the company sponsoring the project.

Supplies, General Storage, and Crop Storage

Supplies

Users are responsible for providing their own materials and supplies for experiments, research projects, and teaching. Contact the superintendent when the joint purchase of common supplies by the Aroostook Farm and faculty may reduce costs.

General Storage
  • Request for storage space must be approved by the superintendent.
  • Storage for specific projects, experiments, or teaching functions will have priority. Student clubs and team storage will be on first-come, first-served basis.
  • Storage space is limited. Project-related storage is only available for short periods and should never extend past the end of the project. Supplies and materials should be purchased in quantities that will be used during the current project.
  • Some long-term storage for unique studies may be available. Requests should be directed to the superintendent.
  • Materials should be clearly labeled with owner’s name. Unlabeled items will be disposed of or relocated.
  • Project materials should be stored in designated locations approved by the superintendent.
  • Stored materials must not block access or egress
  • It is the user’s responsibility to keep storage areas and student locker rooms clean and tidy.

Crop Storage—Drying Room

  • An oil-heated drying room is available at the Aroostook Farm for the drying of research crops.
  • Space in the drying room is limited and intent to use the drying room should be noted on the field-request form.
  • The drying room should only be used for the time required to properly dry plant materials. Dry materials should either be processed, or moved to off-farm long-term storage areas. It is the user’s responsibility to properly dispose of plant materials and containers.
  • The cost to operate the drying room is high. Please coordinate with other users to minimize the number of days the drying room operates annually.
  • Materials in the drying room should be clearly labeled with the names of the owner and the project if possible.
  • Users should notify the superintendent or facility manager when materials are put into or taken out of drying room.

Printing/Copying Services

Printers and copiers are for Aroostook Farm staff use only. All necessary printing and copying should be completed prior to using the Aroostook Farm facilities.

Maintenance Shops and Laboratory

Maintenance Shops

Generally, only Aroostook Farm staff are permitted to use the maintenance shops. Specialized training is required when working in these areas. All equipment fabrication and repair must be approved by the superintendent and work must be performed by trained staff personnel.

Laboratories

Use of laboratories not managed by specific academic departments must be approved by the superintendent. Space should be requested prior to any activity. Only approved sanitation chemicals will be allowed in laboratories containing floor drains.

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Operational Policies—Equipment and Vehicles

Motorized Equipment and Vehicles

Motorized Equipment

Generally, motorized equipment (tractors, utility vehicles, and lawnmowers), are for Aroostook Farm staff use only. Exceptions can be made with authorization of the superintendent and/or Shur Facility facility manager. Specialized tractor safety and driving safety documentation must be maintained to use this equipment. Any equipment brought onto Aroostook Farm facilities must be approved by the superintendent.

Vehicles

Vehicles owned and maintained by the Aroostook Farm are for staff use only.

Power Tools and Hand Tools

Power Tools

Generally, power tools (grinders, drills, chainsaws, string trimmers, tillers, skill saws, etc.) are for Aroostook Farm staff use only. Exceptions can be made with authorization of the superintendent and/or Shur Facility facility manager. Specialized training and personal protective equipment (PPE), is required to use this equipment. Any power tools brought onto Aroostook Farm facilities must be approved by the superintendent.

Hand Tools

Some tools are available for general use such as rakes, shovels, hoes, manure forks, and wagons. These should be kept in good condition, cleaned, and returned immediately after use. Tools should not be removed from the facility.

Project-owned and Donated Equipment

Project-owned Equipment

Users are responsible for all costs (parts, maintenance, transportation, and labor) associated with project equipment purchased or acquired and brought onto the facilities. Storage of equipment must be approved by the superintendent. Special circumstances where equipment is shared between users and the Aroostook Farm should be discussed with the superintendent before the equipment arrives at the facilities.

Donated Equipment

Approval must be received from the superintendent before accepting donated equipment for the facilities. Cost for future maintenance and use will be considered. The user who facilitates the donation is responsible for submission of required university forms to accept donations.

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Operational Policies–Field Operations

Crop Amendments and Protectants

Manure/Compost

Manure supply for use at Aroostook Farm is limited. Users should notify the superintendent if manure will be needed for research projects. Purchased manure is typically stored outdoors at a specific location on Aroostook Farm. A limited amount of compost is generally available. Compost purchases will be the responsibility of the user. Users should consult with the superintendent if bulk orders are to be stored on-farm.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer purchases for specific research projects will be the responsibility of the user. Aroostook Farm staff will spread fertilizer at the field not treatment level. Fertilizer is usually applied through special and/or conventional planters at Aroostook Farm.

Lime

Lime purchase and application at the field level will be the responsibility of the Aroostook Farm. If lime is needed for multiple projects, users should communicate with each other and with the superintendent to minimize transportation costs and take advantage of any bulk-order discounts.

Pesticides

Pesticide purchases for specific research projects will be the responsibility of the user. Only licensed personnel are authorized to make pesticide applications. Aroostook Farm staff is available to make pesticide applications using tractor-mounted spraying equipment. Hand-spraying applications will be the responsibility of the licensed user or their licensed designee.

Field Preparation

Tillage

Aroostook Farm staff will be responsible for field tillage operations. Users should consult with the superintendent to ensure the desired tillage tools are available. Properly trained users may also perform tillage operations with permission from the superintendent and/or Aroostook Farm staff

Mulching

Mulch purchases and hand application for specific research projects will be the responsibility of the user. A stacking site for bulk mulch orders is available at Aroostook Farm.

Cultivation

Aroostook Farm staff will be responsible for field cultivation operations. Users should consult with the superintendent to ensure the desired cultivation tools are available. Properly trained users may also perform cultivation operations with permission from the superintendent and/or Aroostook Farm staff.

Mowing

Mowing field margins for research projects will be the responsibility of Aroostook Farm staff. Users should consult with Aroostook Farm staff to ensure desired equipment is available.

Crop Production

Planting

Aroostook Farm staff will be responsible for planting operations. Properly trained users may also perform planting operations with permission from the superintendent and/or Aroostook Farm staff. Multiple planters are available including air seeders, grain drills, and potato planters (34″ rows). Users should consult with the superintendent and/or Aroostook Farm staff to ensure desired planting equipment is available.

Irrigation

Irrigation hydrants are found at multiple locations at Aroostook Farm. Irrigation systems are limited and users should consult with the Aroostook Farm superintendent to ensure desired equipment is available.

Harvesting

Mechanical harvesting operations will be the responsibility of Aroostook Farm staff. Hand-harvesting operations will be the responsibility of the user.

Transportation

Transportation of crops from field to storage will be the responsibility of Aroostook Farm staff.

Storage

Crop storage is limited. Potato storage is available on a very limited basis. There are no facilities for storing bulk grains. Temporary storage of these crops may be available. Users should consult with Aroostook Farm staff in advance if storage of the aforementioned crops will be necessary.

Data Collection and Sampling

Data collection and sampling of research plots will be the responsibility of the user.

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Operational Policies—Events

Public Events

The Aroostook Farm is available for hosting university-sponsored events upon consultation with the superintendent and/or Shur Facility facility manager. An event-request form must be submitted to the superintendent a minimum of 45 days before the date of the event.

Student groups requesting to hold events at the Aroostook Farm must have a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will act as a liaison between the student group and superintendent and will be responsible for coordinating the event with the superintendent and completing the required forms.

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Request Forms

Field and Plot Request Form

Event Request Form

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Facility Use Charge

There are currently no charges for use of the facility. Projects or activities that will significantly influence facility costs or operations must be reviewed by the superintendent. It is the principal investigator or instructor’s responsibility to contact the superintendent.

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Aroostook Farm Advisory Committee

The Aroostook Farm Advisory Committee advises the superintendent and dean/director on policies, procedures, and priorities for the Aroostook Farm (Aroostook and Shur Facility).

The Aroostook Farm Advisory Committee meets at least annually. The committee advises the dean/director in the following areas:

  1. Priorities for equipment maintenance and replacement.
  2. Priorities for infrastructure maintenance and improvement.
  3. Long-range operational planning.
  4. Budget management for meeting facility missions, goals, and objectives.
  5. Planning and procedures for the allocation of facility space and related resources.
  6. Implementation of safety procedures.

The committee also is charged with developing 5-year missions, goals, and objectives for facilities for approval by the dean/director. The committee seeks input from appropriate academic unit chairs and teaching coordinators when advice to the superintendents or dean/director may influence teaching programs. Contact information for the Aroostook Farm Advisory Committee may be found on the Experiment Station web site under “Advisory Committees,” or by clicking here.

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