Overland Farm in Unity site of pasture walk

June 16th, 2014 3:42 PM
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University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) are co-sponsoring a pasture walk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Overland Farm on Hunter Road in Unity.

Overland Farm owner Mike Anderson has been improving its pastures with managed grazing and critical soil amendments. Anderson raises registered Highland cattle, a Scottish breed with long horns and wavy coats. Anderson will talk about what he has done and changes he has seen in productivity. UMaine Cooperative Extension educator Rick Kersbergen will be at the walk to help answer questions.

The walk is one in a series of educational events co-sponsored by MGFN and UMaine Cooperative Extension. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call the Waldo County Extension office at 207.342.5971 or email Richard.kersbergen@maine.edu.

USDA Announces Funding, Issues Federal Order to Combat PEDv

June 6th, 2014 8:47 AM
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Washington, D.C., June 5, 2014 — In response to the significant impact porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) are having on U.S. pork producers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $26.2 million in funding to combat these diseases. Additionally, USDA issued a Federal Order requiring the reporting of new detections of these viruses to its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or State animal health officials.

These viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety, and they are commonly detected in countries around the world.

“In the last year, industry has estimated PEDv has killed some 7 million piglets and caused tremendous hardship for many American pork producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “The number of market-ready hogs this summer could fall by more than 10 percent relative to 2013 because of PEDv. Together with industry and our State partners, the steps we will take through the Federal Order will strengthen the response to PEDv and these other viruses and help us lessen the impact to producers, which ultimately benefit the consumers who have seen store pork prices rise by almost 10 percent in the past year.”

The $26.2 million will be used for a variety of activities to support producers and combat these diseases, including:

  • $3.9 million to be used by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to support the development of vaccines
  • $2.4 million to cooperative agreement funding for States to support management and control activities
  • $500,000 to herd veterinarians to help with development and monitoring of herd management plans and sample collection
  • $11.1 million in cost-share funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices.
  • $2.4 million to private sector veterinarians for diagnostic testing
  • $1.5 million to National Animal Health Laboratory Network diagnostic laboratories for genomic sequencing for newly positive herds

APHIS’ Federal Order requires producers, veterinarians, and diagnostic laboratories to report all cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases to USDA and State animal health officials. The industry is already seeing herds previously impacted by the virus become re-infected, and routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the United States and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.

The Federal Order also requires that operations reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or USDA or State animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices, and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measures. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals, prevent further spread of the disease, and enable continued movement of animals for production and processing.

The international animal health governing body, the OIE, believes that cases of PEDv and these other swine enteric coronavirus diseases shouldn’t be the basis for countries to restrict exports of pork and pork products from the U.S.

For full details of the Federal Order and program requirements, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/secd. A Q&A is also available at http://umaine.edu/livestock/swine/diseases/questions-answers/.

Don’t Forget to Vaccinate Your Horse (and Protect Yourself)

June 4th, 2014 12:14 PM
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blood-filled mosquitoDonald E Hoenig, VMD, is author to a new blog for Maine farmers called Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture. His most recent blog post, Don’t Forget to Vaccinate Your Horse (and Protect Yourself), describes the signs and symptoms of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), how it is transmitted, and what to do to protect your horses and yourself.

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.

What’s That Weed? UMaine Extension Knows

May 29th, 2014 9:46 AM
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Cinquefoil

Rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica L.) in flower, June. Photo by Jennifer Cote

Common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit, and other cultivated crops will be the focus of the walk led by Extension Educator Donna Coffin. She’ll have references available for those who want to learn how to identify and manage weeds. Participants are encouraged to bring a digital photo of problematic weeds in their farms and gardens. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private pesticide applicators.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Coffin at 207.564.3301,800.287.1491 (in Maine), or donna.coffin@maine.edu. Details also are available at calendar.umaine.edu/events/.

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.