Anderson Talks to MPBN about Big Agriculture

May 20th, 2014 11:33 AM
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Gary Anderson, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension associate professor, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report titled, “Maine farmers providing ark for critically endangered breeds.” Experts say biodiversity in the world’s farmyards are shrinking, according to the article, and efforts are underway to monitor several farm animals that appear on a list of critically endangered domestic breeds. Anderson said today, big agriculture is all about making more food for less money. He gave an example of chickens; stating that in 1926, the average chicken produced 126 eggs per year, and today, a hybrid hen created by agribusiness Hy-Line International lays 240 eggs per year. He added the hens are also eating less; from more than 7 pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs 60 years ago, to only 2.8 pounds of feed today.

UMaine Extension Offers New Blog for Maine Farmers

May 12th, 2014 9:29 AM
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Donald E Hoenig, VMD, is author to a new blog for Maine farmers called Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture. Dr. Hoenig retired as the Maine State Veterinarian in 2012 and, after completing a year-long Congressional Fellowship in Sen. Susan Collins’ office in Washington DC last year, in January 2014 he started working as a part-time Extension Veterinarian for University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Submit questions and comments to dochoenigvmd78@gmail.com. Answers to selected questions will appear in future blog posts.

Press Herald Publishes Feature on Lichtenwalner

May 8th, 2014 3:06 PM
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The Portland Press Herald published a feature on Anne Lichtenwalner, director of the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory. Lichtenwalner, who is also an assistant professor of animal science and a UMaine Cooperative Extension veterinarian, spoke about how she splits her time between the lab, researching and teaching, as well as the advice she gives to the general public about raising backyard chickens or dairy cows.

Learn to ID Goat, Sheep Parasite at UMaine Extension FAMACHA Workshop

April 18th, 2014 11:32 AM
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goatsUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a FAMACHA workshop to teach farmers how to identify parasite infection in sheep and goats Saturday, May 17 at the Northeast Livestock Expo in Windsor, Maine.

FAMACHA is a diagnostic tool — a chart — that matches an animal’s eyelid color to anemia levels, thus enabling farmers to target treatment for sheep and goats infected with the barber pole worm. Thomas Settlemire, professor emeritus at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and Richard Brzozowski, UMaine Extension small ruminant specialist, will present the workshop.

Participants will receive hands-on training, an information packet, record sheets and a FAMACHA card. Cost is $20 per farm. To enroll, visit http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/famacha-workshops/. For more information, or to request disability accommodations, contact 207.781.6099, 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or lynne.b.hazelton@maine.edu.

Morning Sentinel Advances Hayfield, Pasture Managmenet Workshop

March 31st, 2014 1:50 PM
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The Morning Sentinel reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County will hold a workshop on hayfield and pasture management April 3, 2014 in Farmington. Richard Kersbergen, Extension educator from Waldo County, will lead the class for farmers and others who want to make their lands more productive and profitable.

Kennebec Journal Advances Cooperative Extension Poultry Producers School

March 31st, 2014 1:39 PM
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The Kennebec Journal reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association will offer a daylong school for poultry producers Saturday, April 5, 2014 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield. The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4-H teenagers. Topics will include best management practices, bird health and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds, poultry nutrition, poultry product quality and organic practices.

Brzozowski Comments on Mail Order Poultry Practice

March 25th, 2014 9:30 AM
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Richard Brzozowski, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension poultry specialist, commented in a Morning Sentinel story about day-old mail order baby chicks that died en route from Pennsylvania to Mercer, Maine, when their delivery was delayed. Brzozowski said Maine farmers often rely on mail order chicks because there are no commercial hatcheries in Maine.

Explore Farming with UMaine Extension

March 19th, 2014 11:26 AM
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University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative (PVAEC) explore what it takes to be a farmer in Maine on Wednesday, March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at UMaine Extension, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft.

“Is Farming for ME?” will instruct attendees how to assess all assets that can contribute to a successful farm and where they can go for more information on starting a farm business plan. The program is part of the YOU CAN series of workshops developed to teach self-sufficiency skills to Maine families.

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties and statewide resource for the Maine beef and equine industry, will lead the workshop. Cost is $5; pre-registration is required. To register, call 207.564.6525 or visit http://bit.ly/pyoucan. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.564.3301 or 800.287.1491 (in Maine).

UMaine Extension offers hayfield, pasture management workshops

March 19th, 2014 10:22 AM
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Baling hayUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering free workshops on hayfield and pasture management this spring around the state.

Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County, will lead the “Got Hayfields?” workshops, which focus on how to best manage hayfields and pastures to produce high-quality feed for livestock. Topics include weed control, managing soil fertility, hay and pasture renovation techniques, grazing management and basics of forage quality.

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates, times and locations:

  • March 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 992 Waterville Road, Waldo
  • April 3, 6-8 p.m., Farmington Grange, 124 Bridge St., West Farmington
  • April 10, 7-9 p.m., UMaine Extension, 307 Maine Ave., Bangor
  • April 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Vassalboro Grange, Route 32, East Vassalboro
  • April 30, 2-4 p.m., UMaine Extension, 57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle
  • May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls
  • June 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Noon Family Sheep Farm, 78 Sunset Road, Springvale

Pre-registration is requested. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426, or visit http://umaine.edu/waldo/programs/events/got-hayfields.

Maine Grass Farmers Network 10th Annual Grazing Conference

February 18th, 2014 1:32 PM
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Grazing cattle

The Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) annual Grazing Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

The cost is $75 per person, $25 for each additional person from the same farm or household, with discounts for students and MGFN members. This conference is designed for livestock producers who want to learn how to best use pasture and forage crops to feed their livestock profitably.

This year’s conference features Forrest Pritchard, a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. His farm, Smith Meadows, is one of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, and has sold products at farmers markets in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. His book “Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm” was named a Top Read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” Pritchard’s keynote presentation is “The Economics of Grass-Based Livestock.”

Additional presenters will include University of Vermont livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser and Crystal Springs Farm manager Seth Kroek. The conference will also feature the MGFN annual business meeting, a grass-fed beef cook-off and a trade show.

For more information and to register, visit the MGFN website at http://umaine.edu/livestock/mgfn/. For any questions or to request a disability accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen, 207.342.5971; richard.kersbergen@maine.edu.

The MGFN Conference is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension; The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; The Natural Resources Conservation Service; The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Maine Beef Producers Association.