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Farm Scoop October 2012

by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties

Soil Course for Farmers

UMaine Extension has developed a five-part series to take an in depth exploration into physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil; management and enhancement of soil organic matter; options and recommendations for soil amendments; cover cropping, and crop rotations. Through this series, farmers will learn management strategies for optimum crop production and long-term soil health.

When: Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, October 23 – November 20

Where: The Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, ME in the Nasson Room.

Cost: The cost for the series is $25 per person, or $10 per session

Preregistration is required and is available online, or call 1-800-287-1535 or (207) 324-2814 for more information.

Focus on Fiber Seminar

A day-long seminar is planned to help fiber farmers establish or maintain a sound farm enterprise and produce high quality fiber from animals. The practical training is scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2012 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, ME. You can register or find more information on our Web site, or call University of Maine Cooperative Extension at 1-800-287-1471.

Old Pesticides on Your Farm?

Are there old metal pesticide containers hiding in the back of your storage area? If there are, please take action! The metal may be weak, and may be leaking or about to leak. Pack them (container and all) into plastic seal-able pails (5 gallon paint pails work great) and store them in a safe, dry location. If the pesticides are still legal to apply, use them up as soon as possible, following label directions. If they are no longer legal to use, you may be eligible for free disposal through the Maine Board of Pesticide Control (BPC) obsolete pesticide disposal program.

Most metal containers left over from the 1980s have come to the end of their useful life span. Our inspectors have found many containers either leaking product or some that had already leaked out their entire contents. So please check any places where pesticides are stored and take action to prevent a spill. You don’t want to contaminate your storage area or potentially affect the ground water. Just a few minutes of checking could save many hours of cleanup time in the future. For more information or to register, contact Henry Jennings, Director, Maine Board of Pesticides Control, or call (207) 287-7543.

What Can I Do with My Small Farm?

If you a have a small farm, here are two links that might provide some useful information on suitable enterprises.

Supplemental Enterprises for Farmers

While visiting farms in other states this summer, I noticed that several of the farms had enterprises that were not agricultural in nature, but fit nicely on the farm. These enterprises spread the risks of the farmer by generating extra income, and included a dog kennel boarding business, room rental to students attending a local college, storage space rental, and space rental to local schools for gardens/classroom. These are just a few ideas for you to consider if you are thinking about ways to increase income. Find more information on income enhancement strategies for farmers from Purdue University.

Campsites on Your Farm?

Have you ever considered generating extra income by renting campsites on your farm property? Licensing is not required if there are four campsites or fewer on your property. It might be a feasible enterprise for Maine farmers but there are several things to consider. You can get more information by contacting Richard Abare, the Executive Director of the Maine Campground Owners Association, or call 207-782-5874 (office) or 207-754-4408 (cell).

Free Stretching Poster for Farmers

You’ve probably seen sports players stretch before a game as a way to get their bodies ready for the competition. Well, farmers do some pretty strenuous things in their work too. Maine AgrAbility, an outreach of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has produced a laminated poster with several suggested stretches for farmers. If performed daily, these stretches might help reduce injury. To get a poster, contact Maine AgrAbility or call (207) 844-1533.

Beginning Women Farmers Classes

This series of classes is sponsored by the Maine Women’s Agricultural Network, and funded by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The Beginning Women Farmers program draws on the work of Allen Savory and others, and is designed to help women farmers to be successful. This innovative program instructs participants on using a holistic approach to decision making on their farms.

Participants will meet for 10 sessions on topics such as goal setting, financial, business, and marketing planning, land and infrastructure planning, soil fertility, and planned grazing. Participants are provided with a mentor and are connected with a network of other beginning women farmers throughout the Northeast for additional support. Two of the classes take place on local farms. Classes will be held in Fairfield, Maine, beginning on Sunday, November 4, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cost for all 10 sessions is $300.00. Scholarships are available.

Class Subjects and Dates:

  • Orientation and Overview of Holistic Management – November 4, 2012
  • Holistic Goal and Testing Decisions – November 18, 2012
  • Financial Planning I – December 9, 2012
  • Financial Planning II – January 6, 2012
  • Business Planning – January 20, 2013
  • Marketing – February 3, 2013
  • Leadership and Communication – March 3, 2013
  • Land Planning – April 7, 2013
  • Soil Fertility – May 5, 2013
  • Grazing Planning – June 2, 2013

For more information, and to request an application, contact: Gail Chase or call (207) 453-4258 ext. 218.

 

 

 

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