Wild Blueberry Newsletter April 2020

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

April 2020

We want you to know that the University of Maine extension and research faculty have a very limited ability to conduct research through May 17 and UMaine Extension offices are physically closed through May 17. However, we are still open online, on the phone, and can still conduct individual farm visits. We are here to get you the resources you need!

Covid-19 Maine Wild Blueberry Webinar April 21

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Time: 1:00–2:30 pm
Join from Computer  Password: 799038
Join from Telephone:  +1 312 626 6799 Password: 799038

Introductions: Eric Venturini, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
University Update: Lily Calderwood, UMaine Extension Wild Blueberry Specialist
Nancy McBrady, State of Maine DACF
Jorge Acero, Maine Department of Labor (Migrant Labor Programs)
Steven McKinney, US Department of Labor (Labor Laws and Covid-19)
Cameron O’Brien, Senator Collins Office
Dave Lavway, Farm Service Agency
Open Q & A

Bud Break & leaf tipCoffee Hour: Weekly, Virtual, Bring Your Coffee

Lily is starting a weekly virtual “Coffee Hour” starting this Friday from 8:00-9:00am. Call in to ask wild blueberry questions, say hello, or listen to the discussion.
When: Every Friday
Time: 8:00–9:00 am
How: Same link/phone number every Friday
Join from Computer  Password: 459071
Join from Telephone: US: +1 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 924 6466 7949

Online Crop Tools
The AgriNet and Wild Blueberry Blog are active with updates from Seanna’s weather stations. Watch closely for mummy berry infection periods and frost events coming up. Also on this page, is a new phenology tracker that Lily and Phil will hopefully be able to continue updating weekly.

Pollination Notes
Migratory pollination services will be arriving to Maine soon. Jennifer Lund, Maine Bee Inspector, is letting people know that some trucks have been delayed crossing state borders (FL, PA, NJ, NY) and therefore delays are possible.

Some growers are concerned that bee workers and truck drivers will not have anywhere to stay when they are in Maine. Nancy McBrady, Maine DACF Bureau Director, reports that “the governor’s executive order allows for lodging of critical infrastructure, which includes agriculture. If an establishment has questions, they can reach out to the Maine Office of Tourism. The Department of Economic and Community Development has tried to let the hospitality industry know to make lodging available to essential service providers.”

Pesticide Credits
Lily is creating at least two, one hour IPM courses that will be available in May. To receive pesticide credits (1 per hour) you will need to watch the video and take a quiz.  The Maine Pesticide Control Board also has online course options.

Commercially managed bees crawling over a single screenCrop Insurance
Due to Covid-19 the USDA Risk Management Agency authorized additional flexibility to producers who are using federal crop insurance. Changes include allowing policyholders to submit electronic notifications for production reporting etc., an extension of production reporting dates, and allowing policyholders additional time to make premium payments.

As always policyholders should communicate with their crop insurance agent about any concerns they may have. The full summary of these changes can be found here.

Tentative Summer Field Days
While these in-person events may or may not happen, they are on the events calendar.
June 18, 2020: IPM and AgriTourism at Welch Farm, Roque Bluffs ME
June 23, 2020: TBD Mid-coast IPM
TBD: Organic Wild Blueberry Field Day
July 15, 2020: Blueberry Hill Farm Field Day, Jonesboro ME

Covid-19 Resources

Wild Blueberry Commission Newsletter
Sign up for the Wild Blueberry Commission’s new Wild Blue Weekly email for timely information relevant to your businesses. Sign up by emailing England@maine.edu.