The Somerset Newsflash, February 2022

Upcoming Events and Timely Bulletins for Somerset County

Important Dates


The News

UMaine Extension Releases 2021 Maine Tick Program Data

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab 2021 Surveillance Program data is available on the Maine Tick Data webpage.

In 2020, the lab included testing for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia, in addition to tests for Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis, the three most common tick-borne diseases.

In 2021, the lab received nearly double the number of tick submissions than it did in 2020. According to Griffin Dill, UMaine Extension Tick Lab manager, “the increase was primarily driven by an unprecedented number of American dog tick submissions. Fortunately, dog ticks are not known to transmit pathogens here in Maine.”

Dill also noted that the infection rates for Lyme disease, Anaplasme, and Babesia increased significantly compared to 2020, ranging from a 3% increase for Babesia to a nearly 6% increase for Lyme disease.

For 2022, the UMaine Extension Tick Lab will be adding another pathogen, Borrelia miyamotoi, to the testing panel for deer ticks and related tick species. While Borrelia miyamotoi is related to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, it causes a relapsing fever-like illness in humans.

More information on different tick species in Maine, tick management, tick-borne disease, and submitting tick specimens to the lab is available on the tick laboratory website, or by contacting 207.581.3880, 800.287.0279 (in Maine):

The News in Agriculture

New Extension Resource: Guide to Investigating PFAS Risk on Your Farm

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is making a dynamic set of resources about on-farm PFAS contamination available online to the public in one location.

Guide to Investigating PFAS Risk on Your Farm” is a comprehensive collection of resources about contamination from Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Maine. Topics include Maine’s response to contamination at agricultural sites, steps to determining risks and mitigation options for farms, and information on the sources of PFAS contamination. The new website will be updated as the research and resulting information evolves.

The resources are from multiple Maine state agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection, and Maine CDC. Supporting organizations contributing information include UMaine Extension, Maine Farmland Trust, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) project 2019-70028-30464 and 2020-70028-32729. For more information about agriculture in Maine contact 207.581.3188,; or Extension’s agriculture website.

Training Series for Next Generation of Farmers starts March 4

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host an eight-session series online for Maine farming, fishing, or forestry producers ages 20-35 who are interested in agricultural business training. Webinars are scheduled 10 a.m. – noon starting March 4 and continuing each Friday through April 22.

GenerationNext Training Series in Maine” is a comprehensive program designed for those interested in managing an agricultural business or entrepreneurs starting and growing a business. Topics include leadership and management, financial and strategic planning, marketing, risk management, and estate planning. Chris Laughton, Farm Credit East director of knowledge exchange and FarmStart program manager, will lead the training.

The $199 series fee includes course materials and full financial assistance is available for eligible Maine farmers. A minimum of 12 participants is required for the training. Register on the GenerationNext Training Series webpage. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Chris Howard, 207.944.6391;

Funding for this program is provided by UMaine Extension Equipping New Farmers with Practical Skills and Knowledge Project: USDA NIFA Grant #2021-70033-35716.

QuickBooks Workshop for Farmers

This QuickBooks for Farmers workshop series is an introductory course to familiarize farmers with the QuickBooks Desktop basics. Who should attend? Any farm or agriculture business owner wanting to implement a sound accounting tool for their business. This is a FREE workshop, but pre-registration is required on the QuickBooks for Farmers page. Workshops will be held via Zoom on March 7, 8, 14, and 15 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. EST.

2022 Maine Dairy Seminar & MDIA Annual Meeting

It has been two years since the Maine dairy community last met in person. Come join the presentations, fellowship, and trade show at this year’s seminar! The meeting will take place Thursday, March 10 at the Elks Lodge in Waterville, Maine. Visit the Maine Dairy Seminar page for more information.

Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) has allocated approximately $20MM in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the new Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program (AIIP).

  • AIIP application period will open on January 14, 2022
  • AIIP application deadline is 11:59 PM EST on February 25, 2022

The AIIP will provide critical funding for Maine farms and agricultural food processors pursuing infrastructure upgrades that will:

  1. mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19,
  2. increase capacity, enhance supply chain resilience, address market disruptions, and
  3. drive growth within the Maine agricultural and food economy while providing more locally available foods to Mainers. 

The Department has partnered with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to serve as Third-Party Administrator for the program.

Sign up for updates on the program on the Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program Notification page (Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry).

Download the draft version of the Application for the Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program (PDF).

UMaine Extension Hosts Flower Growers Conference February 28-March 3

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host a virtual conference for cut-flower growers from 6–8 p.m. every day from Feb. 28–March 3. An additional in-person networking session is scheduled for March 6 at Longfellow’s Greenhouses, 81 Puddledock Road, Manchester.

Flowering in the North 2022” webinars will include presentations about using high tunnels, popular flower varieties, succession planting, and post-harvest handling with time for questions and group discussions. UMaine Extension staff and industry experts will lead the webinars.

The conference fee is $60; the in-person session is $15. Registration is required to receive the link. Register on the event webpage. Space is limited for the in-person session; face masks and no evidence of COVID-19 symptoms will be required regardless of vaccination status. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Becky Gray, 207.781.6099;

UMaine Extension Maple Resource Webpage Gets Updated

The UMaine Extension Maple Team has been hard at work updating our Maple Syrup Production Resource website. The site is loaded with resources about,

  • Backyard Sugaring
  • Maple Quality Control
  • Maple Business and Financial Opportunities
  • Labor and Management 
  • And info about the Maple Grading School

The Maple Business Resources section is packed with resources including financial technical support groups who can sit down with you to work on aspects of your business and financial management. There are also lists of various types of low-interest loans, cost-share programs, grant opportunities, and tax reduction programs specific to the Maple Industry.

Upcoming Webinars

Spring Has Spawned: Getting Your Garden Ready for Mushroom Cultivation, February 25, 12-1:15 p.m.
Topics will include basic fungal biology and growing methods, necessary tools and materials, culinary and ecological benefits, suitable mushroom species, and best times to prepare, plant, and expect harvests. Louis Giller, North Spore Education and Events Coordinator, Westbrook, leads the workshop. Registration is required; a sliding scale fee is optional (click workshop name to register). This is the first in a five-part spring gardening webinar series offered through April for Maine gardeners. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Pamela Hargest, 207.781.6099;

Advanced Beekeeping: Swarming and Swarm Management, March 3 and 10, 6–8:30 p.m.
This five-hour class will cover swarming in depth. We will discuss the different types of swarms, swarm biology and behavior, and how to manage the swarming impulses in your colonies. We will also cover swarm trap building and use, swarm management and prevention, and swarm collecting. This class focuses on understanding the natural causes and benefits of swarming and encourages participants to embrace and utilize the natural reproductive instincts of colonies to improve colony health and apiary success. The webinar will be taught by EAS-certified master beekeeper Erin MacGregor Forbes. The fee is $35. Registration is required (click workshop name to register).

How Not to Kill Your Houseplants, March 4, 12-1:15 p.m.
This webinar will include tips for matching a potting medium, watering, lighting, containers, pest control, and humidity to a plant’s needs. Karen Ramsey, owner of Ledgewood Gardens Greenhouses in Orrington, will lead the workshop. Registration is required; a sliding scale fee is optional (click workshop name to register). This is the second in a five-part spring gardening webinar series offered through April for Maine gardeners. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Pamela Hargest, 207.781.6099;

Propagating Trees and Shrubs in the Winter Months, March 7, 6-7:15 p.m.
We all know that from an acorn a mighty oak can grow but did you know there was another way to start a tree? Creating new plants from cuttings is an inexpensive and fun gardening project that can take place even in the winter months and is often not as challenging as you would suspect. Certain trees and shrubs are best propagated from cuttings taken in late winter or early spring while plants are still dormant. Dr. Bryan Peterson will share suggestions on which plants to propagate this time of year, essential tools and supplies, and best practices for success. Registration is required by 4 p.m. on March 7 (click workshop name to register).

The News in 4-H

New Somerset County 4-H Newsletter4H Clover

We are very pleased to present 4-H Happenings, Somerset County’s NEW 4-H newsletter! We have not published a 4-H newsletter in several years, but we have a new office team and will begin publishing 4-H Happenings on a monthly basis. It will be an online newsletter that can be found on the 4-H Newsletter page on our website and readers will be able to access an archive to view past issues. Subscribers will receive an email that will include news highlights as well as links to the online articles.

We hope you find this newsletter helpful and informative and encourage you to reach out with any requests or suggestions!

Maine 4-H Foundation Scholarships

The Maine 4-H Foundation is pleased to announce a number of scholarships available to 4-H members. They range in value from $1,000 to $2,500. Donors from around the state have been very generous in supporting our 4-H seniors as they pursue their dreams and aspirations. Scholarships applications are due March 1, 2022, to your county office. Please check out the Maine 4-H Foundation website for more information.

Maine 4-H ESE Sheep Intent Forms are Now Available

The 2022 Maine 4-H Sheep Eastern States intent to participate form is available on the 4-H website. In order to be eligible for participation on the Maine 4-H Sheep Eastern States Team this fall, 4-H members must complete the fillable PDF form or mail a hard copy of the intent form to the Oxford County Cooperative Extension office before April 1, 2022. Please contact Sara King at or 207.342.5971 with any questions.

The News in Homemakers

2021 Annual Reports Are Due Soon

Club Annual Reports must be compiled and submitted to your County President by March 15.

County Presidents, please take your County Report to the Extension office.  Send one copy to Angela Martin, maintain one copy of the report in the Extension office, and keep one copy for your own records, by March 31.

Lisa will work with MEHC President Bea LaPlante to compile a state-wide Annual Report by April 30.

Help Us Collect Can TabsCan Tabs

All Somerset County Homemakers Clubs are collecting can tabs to be recycled for cash that will be donated to the Ronald McDonald house. Anyone is welcome to contribute to the effort and can tabs can be donated by contacting any of the Extension Homemakers or by dropping them off at the Somerset County Extension office.

Volunteer in Somerset County!

Would you or someone you know like to become more engaged in volunteerism throughout Somerset County? Consider joining Homemakers! The Somerset County Extension Homemakers are always welcoming new members. Please visit the Maine Extension Homemakers website for general information about the program or reach out to the Somerset County Extension Homemakers President, Rita Fortin with any questions or to express interest. Rita can be reached at 207.453.2945 or at You may also contact the Maine Extension Homemakers Coordinator, Lisa Fishman at 800.287.1421 or at

The News in the County

Gifts From the Kitchen Online ClassFlier from the Gifts from the Kitchen event, details on the page.

Join us on Thursday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. for a 1-hour online class where you will learn how to make your own mix-in-a-jar. These homemade gifts are great for holidays, birthdays, barbecues, picnics, and hostess gifts. Sign up today for an online class complete with instructions, recipes, examples, and tips. Head on over to the Gifts from the Kitchen registration page to sign up or contact Alice Cantrell with any questions at