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Cooperative Extension: New Farmers


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Maine AgrAbility Featured in WABI Report

WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”

UMaine Extension Mentioned in Press Herald Article on Organic Hops

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about changes in U.S. Department of Agriculture standards that require organic beer to be brewed with organic hops and how those changes are inspiring more Maine brewers to grow hops. According to the article, UMaine Extension is testing several organic hop varieties to see which thrive and can make tasty brews in Maine.

Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter August 2014 Issue Available

Dear Grower,

The August 2014 issue of the Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter contains articles on seed bed preparation, tillage radish cover crops, and a reprint of last year’s article on harvest efficiency and combine adjustment.

Sincerely,
Andrew Plant, Extension Agriculture Educator

57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, ME 04769
207.764.3361 or 1.800.287.1462
extension.umaine.edu/aroostook

Image Description: field of ripe grain

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 8/15/2014

Although spotted wing drosophila captures remain relatively low through most of the state, we are finding the flies in more locations this week.

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the August 15, 2014 Spotted Wing Drosophila Update, where you can subscribe to blog updates.

Image Description: Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 8 – August 15, 2014

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 8, August 15, 2014, “Pest Numbers Increase in Most Fields.”

Image Description: sweet corn

Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals, and Agriculture

Donald E Hoenig, VMD, writes about foot and mouth disease in his most recent post for Made in Maine: Thoughts on Food, Animals and Agriculture, a blog for Maine farmers. 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.

Mainers Urged to Sign Up for Free Disposal of Banned, Unusable Pesticides

AUGUSTA—This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help Mainers dispose of banned or unusable pesticides.

This free disposal program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collection will occur at sites located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland. To qualify, people must register by September 26, 2014.

Governor Paul R. LePage is urging Mainers to take advantage of this opportunity to protect the environment and save money through this once a year collection event that highlights cooperation between government agencies. “This is an opportunity for Mainers to dispose of unusable pesticides properly and at no expense,” said Governor LePage. “By consolidating collections into four central locations and using in-house resources and expertise, we can reduce disposal costs to about $2 per pound. That’s a great value for Maine taxpayers.”

It’s not unusual for homes and farms to have unintentional hazardous waste—banned pesticides or pesticides that have become caked, frozen, or otherwise rendered unusable—sitting around in basements, garages, or barns. These chemicals can be difficult and expensive to dispose of; DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb stressed the importance of proper disposal of banned or unwanted pesticides.

“It’s important for the protection of public, wildlife, and environmental health that these products are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain, where they can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “People holding these chemicals should contact the BPC as soon as possible to register for the October collection.”

“Providing an easy and no cost solution for Mainers to properly dispose of pesticides is a win for the environment and public health,” said Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho. “The collection events cover the State and are held in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta and Portland providing accessible methods of collection and future disposal.”

The collected chemicals go to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed.

Registration by September 26, 2014, is mandatory—drop-ins are not permitted. To register, get details, and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org, or call 207-287-2731.

The Maine Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP, and paid for entirely through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 90 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.

Local Bread Wheat Project Cited in Press Herald Report

A Portland Press Herald article about Maine bakeries using more local grains mentioned the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project, a USDA-funded collaboration of researchers, farmers, millers and bakers in Vermont and Maine that aims to help farmers increase organic bread wheat production and quality. For the past four years, Alison Pray, co-owner of the Standard Baking Co. in Portland, has been working with the Northern New England Local Bread Wheat Project at the University of Maine and the Northern Grain Growers Association. The groups occasionally send her new heritage wheat varieties to bake with so she can evaluate their properties and flavor, according to the article.

UMaine’s Aroostook Farm Celebrates 100 Years

The University of Maine’s Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle is celebrating 100 years of service to the state and Maine’s potato industry with a centennial celebration and alumni social on Aug. 13.

As the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s potato research facility, the farm is the center for agricultural research and development for Maine’s potato industry. Research and outreach programs at Aroostook Farm aim to provide essential information for Maine’s potato industry to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

The farm’s celebration will include tours, a program commemorating the anniversary, and a social and picnic.

Invitations were mailed to more than 1,000 individuals and organizations including growers, producers and other representatives from the agricultural community; local, state and federal policymakers; university administrators; and alumni.

More information about Aroostook Farm and its centennial celebration is online.

Dill Quoted in AP Article on Berry Growers’ Fruit Fly Battles

James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in an Associated Press article about Northeast berry growers learning how to combat an invasive fruit fly — the tiny spotted-wing drosophila — that wiped out 80 percent of some farms’ late-season fruit two years ago. Growers in Maine, the country’s largest producer of wild blueberries, are spraying and harvesting sooner and planting earlier varieties, the article states. “You take a loss, but the loss is on green berries rather than having to put more pesticides out there,” Dill said. The Portland Press Herald, Yahoo! News and Fox Business carried the AP report.


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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