2022 November PCEA-EC Minutes

Minutes: Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee Meeting May 9, 2022, at 3 p.m. By Zoom


  • Members:  Joe Dietz, Beth McEvoy DVM, Rick Cabot, Kim Merrit, and Sarah Robinson
  • Staff: Donna Coffin, Sheila Norman, Anette Moulton, and Laurie Bowen
  • Guest:  Jessica Leahy, Elisa Schine

Business Meeting:

  • Secretary’s Report – September Minutes – motioned and passed to accept minutes
  • Treasurer’s Report-
  • Transactions
  • Cash Flow
  • Presentation by Jessica Leahy about the possibility of adding a grant-funded community outreach position filled by Elise Schine. This position would be from May 23 to August 2024. Elise would be working on a wood bank for the community as well as other projects. The Executive Committee was fully supportive. Rick and Sarah offered to help.

Program Updates from Staff

Laurie Bowen, Food Systems Program Associate

  • September Programming:
    • Central Maine Garden News: September: 1,336 opens, 211 clicks
    • DKG Teacher Society-Food Preservation/Food Safety 16 attendees
    • Preserving the Maine Harvest Webinar 40 attendees virtually
    • Greenville Farmers Market-Microgreens and Pressure Gauges testing
    • Professional Development:  Completed Master Food Preserver training
    • Pollinator-friendly Garden Certification Annual in-person meeting for volunteers
  • October Programming:
    • Central Maine Garden News October:  1,094 opens, 167 clicks, 3 replies with positive responses
    • PRFC:  Share shed will be stored there and future will be for seed, seedlings, no plastic wrapped food etc.  People will be directed to the drop off refrigerator at PRFC
    • PRFC:  Recipe collaboration and possible raised beds for community
    • Maine Ag in the Classroom Annual meeting
    • Master Gardener Training has begun
      • Tech Check in complete
      • Meet and Greet virtual
  • November Programming:  
    • Cooking for Crowds Training in Greenville November 10th 5-8 pm
    • Maine School Garden Annual Meeting November 4th

Donna Coffin

1. One-to-one contacts – Phone (24), Email (39), Facebook (8), Face to Face (15), Surface Mail (1), Zoom (1) from 72 people included questions on: meat processing class, poultry disease, invasive weed management, soil fertility, hay source, growing vegetables, grad student project, custom farm rates, farm stand, cover crops, crop production and marketing,
enterprise budgets, renovating old hay fields, pesticides, weed identification, insect identification, disease identification, compost sources, calculating fertilizer amounts, lawn care, wildlife control, pruning old apple trees, DIY solar heating collectors, farm business planning.
2. Upcoming Programs/Meetings/Activities
a. Maine Beef Producers Association Meeting – Nov. 10
b. Maine Harvest Festival – Nov. 19 and 20, Cross Center in Bangor
c. Pork Quality Assurance – November 30, 5:30 pm at the Bangor Extension Office.
d. Master Gardener Volunteer Q & A moderator – Nov. 15
e. Maine Agricultural Trades Show – Jan. 10 – 12
f. So You Want to Farm in Maine? with BrightSpace – Jan. 24 start
3. Past Activities
a. Marr Pond Farm Conservation Cooperator of the Year by Piscataquis County
SWCD – table with extension information (~40 people)
b. Cattlemen’s College, Witter Center, Orono (35 people) (Photo)
c. Houseplant Care & Propagation Information Table at Milo Garden Club Plant
Sale, Milo (40 people).
d. What do you need to know to install a new irrigation system? Zoom with Dr. Sumon Datta, Extension
Engineer. (12 attended live – 41 registered – 71 viewed recording).
e. Oct. Maine Beef Producers Meeting Zoom (8 people and 3 people)
f. Moosehead Farmers’ Market booth table with extension information (40 people)
4. Staff Activities
a. Nov. 1 – 3 All Organization Meeting, Orono
b. Promotion Review Committee first week in October
c. Planning Committee for Ag Price Reporting working group and the Maine New Farmers Program (aka:
Equipping Farmers with Practical Skills Grant implementation).
d. Continue to serve on Maine Farm Resource Network, Home Horticulture and Livestock Program Teams
e. Submitting data to the Maine Planning and Reporting System including results of the gardening and farming
newsletters impact surveys.
5. Newsletters & Social Media
E-newsletter Successfully Sent Open Clicked
Maine Farm Newsletter (Oct 15, 2022)* 2,632 1,308 (49%) 195 (7%)
Maine Beef Newsletter (October 2022)** 673 305 (43%) 49(7%)
* High Tunnel Workshop (36 clicks)
** Beef Prices (12 clicks)
Piscataquis County Facebook posts: 52 posts that reached 6,932 and 992 Followers
Date Content Reach
9/15/2022 Share Shed cherry tomatoes 1,033
9/12/2022 Share Shed shelf-stable goods 798

Old Business

  • Office Sign-Last March we sent the sign that hangs by the road to the paint shop at UMaine for repairs. The sign was lost (or something) but we have been promised a new sign.
  • School Garden There is an afterschool program at Sedo with interest in working in the garden and also the Pre-k to grade 2 teachers are interested in the garden. Laurie has been talking to Maine Ag in the Classroom as a resource. Things are looking up with regard to keeping the garden viable. The EC may be able to have a work party to help work on the garden. Laurie would love to have some help weeding. (Sarah also needs help weeding the pollinator garden at Law Farm.) There is interest in starting some fruit trees as well. Carolyn Clarl is working on this, and she was very involved in getting the nature trail up and running. The trail is still being used. 
  • Vote on new member: Sarah Robinson was unanimously voted to the Executive Committee for a 3-year term. 
  • One TomatoDonna reported on the One Tomato project. It started in 2014 and has been well received. The survey about the success of the yield and the success of the plants has been completed. The program has grown to Aroostook County as well as Piscataquis. 
  • Budget Update: Budget Advisory Committee is recommending flat funding for all non-profit organizations. No new non-profit organizations will be funded.
    • Options for 2023 
    • We looked at the options from our previous discussions, with the expectation that we will be flat-funded. Our expenses will increase, but our funding will remain the same. We will need to use our carry-over to stay open 3 days per week. If we stay open for 3.5 days per week, we will have to dig deeper into the reserve funds. Anette reports that sometimes Wednesdays are quite busy and other times not so much. A possibility would be to stay open for two half days instead of closing completely for one day. Anette reported that she would rather work 3 full days rather than travel to Dover twice for only half days. We were not invited to the budget advisory meeting, as it was considered a waste of time for people since everyone would be flat-funded and no new groups would be added. The public meeting will be on November 28. Beth and Laurie both plan to attend. If we are flat-funded as expected, the EC would plan for the office to be open for 24 hours a week and take the funds ($734) needed from the carryover account to meet that. There was a discussion about which days to be open. Rick suggested a M, W, F schedule, but Anette thought Th was a day that people come in. Sarah mentioned that things at Soil and Water are slower on Friday. Anette has tallied the number of people that come in on each day, so we can total those numbers and decide which is the best time to be open.

New Business

  • Wood Bank GrantPiscataquis position
    • Elisa Schine Resume
    • Amanda’s former office phone is available for use
  • Hiring Committee for 4H CEA
    • Due to an error in the Orono office, the position did not move on to HR as expected. Consequently, we are a couple of weeks behind where we had hoped to be. The hiring committee has been formed, the position has been approved to be filled, and we should be able to advertise soon. Three people from PSQ County have expressed interest in applying.
  • Technology Needs-Sheila needs a new computer as hers has failed. The options are a 13-inch or 14-inch replacement. The 14-inch has more memory, etc., than the 13-inch. The group voted to spend $1084 from the technology fund for half the computer. Penobscot County has approved that amount for their half.Laurie would like a tablet to use in the field. She would like a Remarkable unit that would save her a lot of time transcribing notes she takes by hand. The group voted to spend about $250 from the technology fund.  
    • Planning for new officers/assigning nominating committee
      •  Piscataquis County Extension Association Executive Committee
        • Steve DeGoosh and Ben Cookson have completed their terms on the committee. Neither of them can continue. Terms are for three years. We will put invitations to join the committee in our newsletters and websites as listed in our civil rights document, hoping to attract some new members. 


    • Annual Review of Civil Rights Commitment (Sign-off)
      • Lisa will send a link for members to sign the civil rights statement electronically. Paper copies will be available at the office if that is preferred. 
    • January meeting date January 9 (January 16th is a holiday)
    • Possible joint meeting Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties
      • There is a past tradition of meeting together. Historically we met in Corinth for a brief presentation, snacks, and sharing. The Penobscot group suggested April as a time. Beth suggested avoiding the April vacation. Laurie will poll to find a date that works for both groups. This will be an evening meeting.