Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools — March 14 and 15, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Seasons Event and Conference Center, Portland, Maine


Wednesday, March 15, 2017
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center, Bangor, Maine

Registration Fee: $45.00, includes lunch

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please preregister by March 3, 2017.

This day-long school is offered for Maine farmers on two dates at two locations: March 14 in Portland or March 15 in Bangor. The agenda and registration form are posted on UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm website.

Annual Maine Potato Conference, trade show Jan. 18–19

Registration is open for University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 32nd annual Maine Potato Conference and trade show, Jan. 18–19, at Caribou Inn and Convention Center in Caribou.

The conference is designed for potato producers, farm workers and crop advisers.

Scheduled speakers include UMaine Extension crop and soil specialists, UMaine and UMaine Presque Isle researchers, Maine Board of Pesticides Control and Maine Potato Board staff, and McCain Foods agronomists.

Topics include soil health and combating drought, storage practices, technology in agriculture and certified seed results. Participants will receive 2.0 pesticide recertification credits and 3.5 Certified Crop Adviser credits.

Cost is $20 for one day, $25 for two. Registration is online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Pam Hickey at 764.3361 or

Hutton gives Growing Produce tips for reducing soil compaction on farms

Mark Hutton, a vegetable specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the UMaine School of Food and Agriculture, told Growing Produce there are several methods farmers can use to protect their crops from the harmful effects of soil compaction. Methods include minimizing vehicle and foot traffic in the field, alternatives to conventional tillage or no-till planting. Before farmers move in these directions though, Hutton suggests they determine if the practices will work with the cover and cash crops they plant. “It’s a different way to look at how you’re farming,” Hutton said. “One of the best things to do is to talk to other growers who are doing reduced tillage. Find out their reasons for doing it, see how it fits into their system, and think about how you can make those changes in your own operation. I don’t think these methods are harder or easier than anything else — they’re just different.”

UMaine Extension to celebrate farming at Maine Agricultural Trades Show, through publications

This month, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will celebrate farming in the state at the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show.

Residents are encouraged to visit the UMaine Extension booth during the show, Jan. 10–12 at the Augusta Civic Center.

UMaine Extension offers a variety of farming resources, including several publications:

This series recognizes that the needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision-making. The series consists of five fact sheets.

Have you ever thought about moving to a farm and wondered whether it’s the right life for you and your family? Answering the questions in this four-page bulletin related to the realities of farming in Maine will help you decide.

Farm accidents can cause serious injury or death, and present tremendous financial challenges to small-scale farmers. Many accidents can be prevented through education. This series of 66 fact sheets forms a comprehensive farm safety library.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for more farming and gardening information, including new bulletins:

Other seasonal publications include:

Master Gardener Volunteers served 35,000 hours for educational, food security projects in 2016

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is celebrating the 952 Master Gardener Volunteers who, combined, gave more than 35,000 hours of their time to a variety of educational and food security projects in 2016.

The team supported 80 community gardens, 86 school gardens, 103 demonstration gardens and 56 programs involving 1,579 youth in horticulture activities this year. Those involved with food security projects distributed 257,426 pounds of food to 142 food distribution agencies and countless neighbors in need as part of the Maine Harvest for Hunger program.

The Master Gardener Volunteers program provides participants with a minimum of 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees receive current, research-based information from UMaine Extension educators and industry experts, and are connected with service projects that match their interests, skill set and availability.

All gardeners are encouraged to join the Master Gardener Volunteers team. Several counties are now accepting applications for local training programs starting this winter with application deadlines as early as Jan. 4.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 800.287.0274 or visit the UMaine Extension website.

UMaine Extension names new sustainable agriculture professor for Aroostook County

Sukhwinder Bali has been appointed University of Maine Cooperative Extension assistant professor and University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) assistant professor of sustainable agriculture.

Bali earned a master’s degree in soil science with a minor in botany from Punjab Agricultural University. She recently completed a second master’s degree in natural resource management from North Dakota State University. Bali has lived in Maine since September 2015.

Based in the Aroostook County Extension office, Bali will join a team of Extension and University of Maine at Presque Isle staff and will provide classroom instruction at UMPI. She will develop and conduct educational outreach and applied research with an emphasis on Aroostook County, work with other faculty to offer off-campus programs addressing the educational needs of commercial agriculture and teach academic courses in the UMPI sustainable agriculture concentration.

UMaine Extension also has hired Colt Knight as the new Extension livestock educator.

Knight grew up in West Virginia and has a background in livestock production and management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona where he researched grazing patterns of cattle using precision agriculture technologies.

With UMaine Extension, his focus will be on developing and conducting educational programs and applied research projects statewide with an emphasis on livestock enterprises, animal health and nutrition, meat science, small-farm management and sustainable farming practices.

Knight will begin at UMaine in Orono on Jan. 9.

More about the Extension livestock program is available online or by calling 581.3188.

Update on Avian Influenza: November, 2016

free range chickenThere are no US outbreaks of AI at the moment, but the situation in Europe and Asia is troublesome. The world Organization for Animal Health (OIE) keeps a running tally of where/when highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI; H5 and H7 serotypes) occurs. As of now, they list 12 European/Northern Asian countries with current (November 2016) reported outbreaks of H5N8 HPAI. The affected countries are Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland. There are also other non-European countries (India, Israel, Iran) with the same strain of HPAI. As well, other strains of HPAI are currently present in Algeria, (H7N1), Japan, and South Korea (H5N6). Activity to contain and control HPAI is ongoing, via eradication, cleaning, and confirmation of clearance. Migratory waterfowl are important as reservoirs of HPAI worldwide, but farm-to-farm spread has been thought to be due to human error, and occasionally due to airborne transmission from fields visited by waterfowl. As ever, prevention of spread by the use of biosecurity practices is paramount; see USDA’s Biosecurity for Birds to review.

2016 Maine Soil Health Workshop

cover crop: no-till drill seeding in corn fieldFriday, December 9, 2016
8:45 AM – 3:00 PM
Spectacular Event Center
395 Griffin Rd, Bangor, ME

Healthy soil is fundamental to growing health crops. In this day-long workshop, farmers, educators, and technical advisors will learn about ways to measure, protect, and build soil health. Speakers include Extension educators, crop advisors, and farmers, who will discuss their research and experiences with reduced tillage, no-till, and cover cropping on dairy, mixed vegetable, and potato and grain farms.

Who should attend: Farmers, educators, and technical service providers. 4.5 Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits will be offered.

Cost (includes lunch): $20.00 before December 2, 2016; otherwise $25.00. NOTE: No refunds will be offered for registrations made by check OR after December 2. Pre-Registration required.

Register & Pay Online

If you need registration assistance, please contact Michele Lodgek at or 207.581.2721.


8:45 – 9:00 AM: REGISTRATION, coffee, tea, snacks

9:00 – 9:15 AM: Welcome and Announcements.
Soil Health Concepts and Considerations — Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension

9:15 – 11:00 AM: Reduced Tillage and No-Till Strategies — Mark Hutchinson, UMaine Extension; Paul Thomas, Thomas Farm, Corinth; Sam Wright, Cavendish AgriServices; John Jemison and Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension

  • Reduced-till in mixed vegetable systems
  • No-till following potatoes
  • No-till and cover crops in silage corn
  • Discussion

11:00 – 11:15 AM: BREAK

11:15 – 12:30 PM: Soil Health Tests — Bruce Hoskins, UMaine Soil Testing Service; John Jemison, UMaine Extension; Will Brinton, Woods End Lab

  • What do they mean and what do you do?
  • A no-till example

12:30 – 1:10 PM: LUNCH

1:10 – 1:30 PM: Maine Soil Health Teams — Caragh Fitzgerald, Andrew Plant, and Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension

1:30 – 3:00 PM: Cover Crop Opportunities and Management — Eero Ruuttila, Johnny’s Selected Seeds; Ellen Mallory and Jason Lilley, UMaine Extension

  • Strategies, considerations, and examples
  • Terminating strategies
  • Northeast Cover Crop Council
  • Discussion


For questions about the workshop: contact Ellen Mallory: or 207.581.2942.

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Ellen Mallory at 207.581.2942 or to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 7 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however all requests will be considered.

Community: Growing Maine — Treworgy Family Orchards

Read transcript

The latest installment of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s “Growing Maine” series tells the story of Patty and Gary Treworgy and their children on their second-generation orchard and family farm. Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant had a rough start after the first planting of apples failed. But with perseverance and by “starting small,” the farm grew to be a destination for over 35,000 visitors each year. The “Growing Maine” short documentaries highlight Maine food producers and farm families. The series helps consumers get to know their food sources better, as farmers and producers share their “behind-the-scenes” perspectives on how decisions are made.

UMaine Extension publications offer tips for seasonal pastimes

It’s that time of year when the days are cooling, the apples are falling from the trees, and everyone is picking their favorite sports team.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for seasonal information, such as:

Fall also is a great time to plant trees and shrubs: