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Cooperative Extension: New Farmers


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Explore Farming with UMaine Extension

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

University 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:

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.

Image Description: Baling hay

UMaine Extension Offers Tractor and Farm Equipment Safety Class

A University of Maine Cooperative Extension tractor and farm machinery safety course will be held 5-7 p.m. five consecutive Tuesdays beginning Tuesday, April 15, at Ingraham’s Equipment, 3 Knox Ridge South, Knox.

This class is designed for youth ages 14-16 to earn federal certification to operate farm machinery as part of their employment. It is also appropriate for adults who want to learn how to drive tractors and operate implements. Participants will be expected to operate machinery during class. A written and driving exam will be administered at the final session in May; it is required for those wishing to earn federal certification.

A $20 enrollment fee pays for a manual and safety equipment. Pre-registration is requested so course materials may be sent to enrollees prior to the first class. For more information, to register, or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine Extension in Waldo County at 1.800.287.1426.

Image Description: Youth on tractor

UMaine Extension Offers Free Apple Tree Pruning Field Day

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free apple tree pruning and grafting field day Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm, 234 Dexter Road, in Saint Albans.

Avalon Acres owner Mark Sheriff, an alumnus of the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program, will host. He’ll present information about general planting and management practices for apple trees then demonstrate pruning and grafting in the orchard. Apple tree growers and people who plan to plant apple trees this spring are invited to attend.

Pre-registration is requested but not required. Attendees should wear footwear appropriate for walking on uneven terrain. Rain date is Saturday, April 26. For more information, to register, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Peter Bastien, 207.474.9622, 800.287.1945 (toll free in Maine).

Image Description: Pruning a fruit tree branch

Registration Underway for UMaine Extension’s Grain Conference

Registration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.

Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y. will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.

Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.

Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.

Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.

Pre-registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if pre-registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. To pre-register and pay online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/2014-maine-grain-workshop/. For more information, to pre-register by phone, or to request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878.

Image Description: Handful of grain

BDN Advances Cooperative Extension Blueberry Growers Meetings

Spring meetings and training offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article “Maine wild blueberry industry may benefit from farm bill pilot program.” Blueberry growers will gather in March, 2014 for meetings planned by the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Waldoboro, Ellsworth and Machias. The meetings will include briefings on pollination, weeds, fertilizers, regulations, diseases and pests. The article also stated the Cooperative Extension and Maine Board of Pesticides Control will conduct training in Machias to prepare growers for the private pesticide applicator core exam and the blueberry commodity exam. Both exams will be administered after the training sessions.

UMaine Study on Best Plants to Attract Bees Focus of Press Herald Column

A study being conducted by University of Maine researchers to determine what flowers are most attractive to bees was the topic of the latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series. UMaine professors Alison Dibble, Lois Berg Stack and Frank Drummond are conducting the study at gardens in Old Town, Jonesboro and Blue Hill with the help of graduate student Eric Venturini. Honeybees have become scarcer and more expensive to bring in from out of state, which makes wild and native bees more important to commercial growers and home gardeners, according to the article.

Learn to make cheese, produce maple syrup at Rural Living Day

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Waldo County Extension Association are offering more than 20 workshops and seminars at the 20th Rural Living Day on Saturday, March 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Mount View High School in Thorndike.

Attendees can learn to make cheese, brew beer, produce maple syrup, and attract native pollinators to farms and gardens. Activities for youth ages 6-12 have been added and include gardening, cooking, and outdoors exploration. Presenters include: UMaine Extension specialists; John Bunker, author and apple expert; and Jim Merkel, author and director of the Global Living Project in Belfast, Maine.

A suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for youth covers three workshops and lunch made from local food. Rural Living Day proceeds fund a scholarship that Waldo County Extension Association presents annually to a Waldo County student pursuing higher education.

For more information, contact sonia.antunes@maine.edu. To register, visit http://umaine.edu/waldo/rld. To request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426.

Image Description: Maple sap buckets on trees.

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting – March 5, 2014

Tree Fruit Preseason Meeting

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
USM Lewiston-Auburn College, Room 170
51 Westminster Street, Lewiston, Maine 04240
Registration fee:  $20 per person, or $25 per person on the day of the meeting.

This meeting will provide pest and horticultural management updates for commercial, hobbyist, large and small-scale orchardists. The agenda and registration information are posted on UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Tree Fruit website.

Image Description: apples

Maine Grass Farmers Network 10th Annual Grazing Conference

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.

Image Description: Grazing cattle


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Contact Information

Cooperative Extension: New Farmers
5741 Libby Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3188, 1.800.287.0274 (in Maine) or 1.800.287.8957 (TDD)E-mail: extension@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System