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/
Image Description: Handful of grain
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.
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.
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.
Image Description: Maple sap buckets on trees.
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
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; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Join with other new and experienced farmers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share strategies for successful farming. Topics include crop, nutrient and pest management; irrigation, and transition to organic production. This series includes four evening sessions and one full-day session in May. Full details, including how to register, are available online. Contact Jane Heikkinen, 207.753.9400 x 400, with any questions or to request a disability accommodation.
Sponsored by Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services; and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. All sponsors are equal opportunity employers.
Image Description: Farmer and duck with ducklings
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.
Topics will include best management practices, bird health, and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality, and organic practices.
The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers, and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.
The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register, visit http://umaine.edu/cumberland/
The Portland Press Herald reported on the Maine FoodCorps program, the state branch of a national program that teaches healthful eating, expands school-based gardens and increases locally grown food in school cafeterias. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension oversees the Maine program that is funded by the Maine Commission for Community Service, with 20 percent of the funding coming from the federal AmeriCorps program. The article states Maine was chosen as one of the original FoodCorps sites because of the state’s interest in and support of the farm-to-school movement.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for a report about how the final enactment of the current version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to be approved in the U.S. Senate, would remove a federal ban on growing hemp. Although growing hemp is already legal in Maine, Rebar said with federal bans in place, UMaine Extension never cultivated a crop or studied the issue beyond a 2003 study that found hemp could be a possible crop for Maine. He said if the bill passes, UMaine Extension will take time to understand what it would mean to grow hemp and the implications.