The Somerset Newsflash, June 2022
- June 25, 2022: Grassfed Beef in Maine: From Fence to Finish
- June 30, 2022: Last Day to sign up for the 2022 Ag Census
- July 5 – August 5, 2022: 4-H Summer Learning Series
- July 22-24, 2022: 4-H State Dairy Show
- July 24, 2022: Open Farm Day
- July 25, 2022: Maine Summer Dairy Field Day
- August 11-20, 2022: Skowhegan State Fair
- October 9, 2022: Maine Fiber Tour and Trail
May and early June mark the planting season in Maine gardens, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program is again hosting an interactive plant sales map.
Another timely resource is the UMaine Extension publication “Best Practices for Plant Sale Donors and Buyers in Maine,” available for free download. Being an informed plant sale donor or buyer helps raise funds for organizations, and it means getting the right plant for the right spot in a garden and avoiding future problems.
More information is available on the UMaine Extension Garden and Yard website, or by contacting 207.581.8211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two options if you have extra produce this summer:
- Home gardeners, farmers, businesses, schools, and civic groups…you can make a difference!
- What would your summer be like without the tastes of sweet corn-on-the-cob, crisp green beans or juicy melon? Help make the tastes of summer a reality for all Mainers by joining other farmers and gardeners who are donating fresh fruits and vegetables to University of Maine Harvest for Hunger. There may be gleaners available to harvest your extra produce in the field. Learn how you can help on the Harvest for Hunger Webpage.
- Food Donations and Grow a Row for MOFGA!
- MOFGA’s common kitchen is seeking donations of organically raised food to support our Fair volunteers this fall and our other educational and planning events during the year. Would you consider planting a row of carrots, cabbage, onions, dry beans, or other veggies you’re eager to grow? We are also accepting donations of other local and organic products like hone and maple syrup too. If you have questions or would like more information, reach out to common kitchen manager and fair food liaison, Wendy Watson, at email@example.com and let us know you are donating and/or growing a row for donation. MOFGA and our volunteers thank you!
We want to remind you that Cooperative Extension offers all kinds of helpful resources for Maine gardeners. If you have a garden, you may want to check out some of these:
- On Demand Webinars: Bundles of three to four prerecorded webinars about starting and maintaining a home orchard, gardening with native plants, composting and soil health, and seed selection and starting. The webinars allow viewers to watch and learn at their own pace and include lists of recommended resources. The webinar bundles are offered on a sliding scale fee of $0–$30. More information about how to purchase the bundles is available on the gardening webpage. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Rebecca Long, 207.743.6329; firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Growing Maine Gardeners: An initiative led by UMaine Extension’s Home Horticulture team to address the increased demand for gardening education throughout the state of Maine and to provide additional support for beginner gardeners.
- Garden Mentorship Program: direct technical assistance and encouragement via phone or email throughout the season from trained Master Gardener Volunteers.
- Maine Farm Products and Pick-Up Directory: The directory provides information on available local farm products and alternative pick-up options developed by farmers statewide to accommodate the recommended social distancing in light of COVID-19.
- Identifying insect pests: Charley Armstrong, will identify pest samples via images. See instructions for submitting an insect specimen.
- Identifying plant diseases: Dr. Alicyn Smart will identify plant disease samples via images. See instructions for submitting a sample.
- Tick testing: Ticks are being tested on a limited basis. See instructions for submitting a tick sample.
- Publication orders: We are still processing orders from our publication catalog, including pesticide application training materials.
- Soil testing: The Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service remains open and is taking samples with a priority on commercial samples. If you need to drop off a sample, you can place it in the box outside of Deering Hall; do NOT enter the building.
- General gardening questions: Contact your county office. Emails are preferred. If it’s necessary to leave a voicemail, please leave your email address (if available) or a mailing address in addition to your phone number.
- Maine Home Garden News: Consider subscribing to this helpful and inspiring monthly newsletter.
Greenhouse Plastic Recycling Program
University of Maine Cooperative Extension opened its Greenhouse Plastic Recycling (GPR) program April 19 with drop-off sites available statewide through November 21.
Plastic eligible for recycling is clear, low-density polyethylene #4 (LDPE #4) used to cover greenhouses, high tunnels, hoop houses and other agricultural structures. The program will also accept white overwintering plastic bundled separately from clear plastic. UMaine Extension’s GPR program video explains the process in full.
This will be the third year for the recycling program, begun in 2020 with a one-year Maine Department of Environmental Protection Waste Diversion grant. The program’s goal is to collect at least one-third of Maine’s annual waste greenhouse plastic, diverting that waste for use in new plastic products. To date, the program has collected almost 2,600 pounds of this plastic waste.
There is no program fee; registration is required. Register and find more information on the GPR program website. More information also is available by contacting Matt Wallhead, 207.581.2949; email@example.com.
The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land – whether rural or urban – growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. For America’s farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity.
June 30, 2022 is the last day to sign up for the 2022 Ag Census. If you have never received a census and are new to NASS surveys, sign up to be counted on the National Agricultural Statistics Service webpage today. You do not need to sign up if you already receive NASS surveys.
UMaine Extension Crop Specific Newsletters Available
Did you know that UMaine Extension has several crop or species specific newsletters that highlight timely production and pest concerns? Newsletters include:
- Cows and Crops
- Maine Beef
- Maine Tree Fruit
- Pest Alert (Potato)
- Sweet Corn
- Spotted Wing Drosophila
- Wild Blueberry.
Learn more and find archived editions here.
A new website from Cooperative Extension focuses on Agricultural Wellness and Resilience!
“A healthy farm is nothing without a healthy farmer.”
The website features resources and tips around crisis support, a hub to share ‘resilience resources’ for the agricultural community, and upcoming events, training or workshops focused on supporting farmer well-being. The website also houses the information about the Maine Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (Maine FRSAN): a state-wide network supporting farmers, farmworkers, and agricultural servicers – of land, forest and sea – with efforts to cultivate wellness and build resilience. Learn more about the Maine FRSAN project partners and take advantage of fully funded opportunities available now for farmers in Maine.
Whether you’ve got 200 cattle, or 5, or you’re still dreaming and planning – you’re invited to learn, network, and get fed at Heartstone farm. They believe there is a real opportunity to grow the reputation and quality of Maine grass-fed beef. And they’re happy to share their experience – so perhaps one day Maine grass-fed beef will be as sought-after as Maine lobsters and wild blueberries!
When: Saturday, June 25, 10 am – 2 pm
Where: Heartstone Farm, Charleston, Maine
- Percy Lorette, Farm Manager, Heartstone Farm
- Dan Kaplan, Heartstone Farm
- Trey and Tom Gilbert, Owners, Herring Bros. Slaughterhouse
- Donna Coffin, UMaine Cooperative Extension
- Colt Knight, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Livestock Specialist
BONUS: Colt Knight from Cooperative Extension will offer a 1-hour Beef Quality Assurance Training
Sign Up for the Maine Fiber Tour and Trail
Now is the time! This annual agritourism promotion happens in October (October 9 this year). There is no fee to join promotions, but you must sign up via Real Maine.
This event helps visitors explore Maine’s fibershed. They may be farms (e.g., fiber animals and plants), and/or processors (e.g., mills, weavers, dyers), and/or sell fiber products such as clothing, art, and other non-synthetic textiles (e.g., farms, specialty retail sites).
If you are a Maine farm or fiber processor who would like to participate (or know of a farm who would like to participate), please email Real Maine.
Now is the time! Maine’s annual Open Farm Day happens the fourth Sunday in July (July 24 this year). There is no fee to join promotions, but you must opt in via Real Maine.
The sign up steps differ for those with who currently have a listing, and those who don’t. Please, start here:
- Not sure if you have a listing? Take a look – search for your farm on RealMaine.Com
- For those who already have a member listing
- For those who do not have an account or member listing
We hope that you will join us at our annual field day on Monday, July 25 with a focus on calf and heifer management. Our featured speaker will be Dr. Pete Erickson, Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist at UNH. Dr. Erickson has been conducting research in the area of calf health and nutrition for over 20 years and will bring a wealth of knowledge.
This field day is part of a Tri-State effort with partnering Universities UNH and UVM. All are welcome to attend the free field days across the tri-states.
Maine Location: Hemond Farm, Minot, ME
Cost: Free (includes boxed lunch)
For more information and to register, visit the Maine Summer Field Day webpage.
The PFAS Testing Grants Program is available to all commercial farms throughout the state. The program is administered by MFT and MOFGA to assist farmers who have concerns regarding potential PFAS contamination.
The Program will pay for:
- Testing of home or irrigation water for contamination with these chemicals.
- Testing of products or inputs if a farm has any concerns relating to the purchase of inputs (hay, milk, etc.) from a farm known to have contamination.
- A simple application form will assess eligibility for the program and several farms will be selected upon a weekly review to participate in the program.
Get full eligibility requirements and program details at this PFAS Emergency Relief Fund webpage.
PFAS Farmer Wellness Fund
The PFAS Farmer Wellness Fund is intended to holistically support farmers and farm workers impacted by PFAS contamination and is being jointly administered by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Maine Farmland Trust (MFT), and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension (UMCE) and is funded by the Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network.
As farmers wellness is broadly defined, there is a wide range of eligible uses for this fund including therapy, childcare, acupuncture, gift cards to purchase uncontaminated food and/or water, massage, traditional healers, and other supports that would help reduce stress at this time.
- All commercial farms. A farm does not need to have confirmed high PFAS test results though those farms and farm workers will be prioritized
- Farm workers based on a farm affected by PFAS
- Indigenous food and medicine growers providing for community
We cannot pay the applicant directly for or reimburse any expenses, and will instead directly pay for any services or products you have requested. Please take care to verify the contact information for payment for the service or product before submission.
PFAS Resource Hubs
- Guide to Investigating PFAS on Your Farm, UMaine Extension
- MOFGA Roadmap for Addressing PFAS Contamination
- PFAS Emergency Relief Fund, MOFGA & MFT
- PFAS Farmer Wellness Fund
- Understanding PFAS and Your Home Garden
Maine Beef Producers Association Membership
The MBPA website has information about the association, the board of directors, and forms for awards, activities, and sales. Members have the opportunity to have their farm listed with a photo, description of their farm, and a link to their own farm website. You can add this information when you join or send the information and digital photo to Russ Florenz at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maine Beef Producers Association has a Facebook page. Like and follow to get the fastest information from Maine Beef Producers Association.
Join the Maine Beef Producers Association.
The Maine Beef Producers Association is accepting dues for the 2022 year. Annual dues are $35. For an extra $25 you can get a year subscription to County Folks. For more information on this organization and for membership application and online payment go to the MBPA website.
You can join the association online and pay by credit card on a secure site or by mailing the information to Sally Caverly by either printing off the form from the website, or completing the pdf version of the form and mailing to her at 1457 River Rd., Clinton, ME.
Seventeen Somerset County 4-H members and friends came together on June 22 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds for fun outdoor activities to investigate forensics with special guests Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for Maine Dr. Liam Funte, and the Skowhegan Police and Fire Departments who gave tours of their cars and ladder truck and shared details of their jobs. Attendees also solved a “jewelry heist” crime following clues and evidence from a mocked up scene to the culprit. Snacks, pizza, and gift bags rounded out the day.
Many thanks to our special speakers and the 4-H club leaders who volunteered their time, expertise, and energy, and to the Skowhegan Fairgrounds for the use of the space.
Looking for 4-H Alumni & Members Attending UMaine!
If you are a current or former 4-H member planning to attend UMaine this fall, know of a 4-H member currently attending UMaine, or know of a recent 4-H alumni attending UMaine, read this! Collegiate 4-H is an opportunity for 4-H alumni and college students interested in supporting the mission of 4-H to be involved in 4-H after high school. We are currently exploring starting a Collegiate 4-H Club at UMaine with an anticipated start date for the 2022 fall semester. Simply fill out this short form to let us know if you think you might be interested!
After an incredibly successful 4-H Summer Learning Series over the past two years, Maine 4-H will once again offer virtual experiential learning workshops and clubs to youth ages 5-18 from July 5 – August 5, 2022. Planning is still taking place, but topics in previous years have ranged from engineering, art, science, animals & agriculture, food & nutrition, teen leadership, and more.
Early registration will be available to enrolled 4-H’ers on Friday, June 3, 2022 and will open to the public the following Monday, June 6. Help us spread the word to your friends and communities – enrollment in 4-H is not required to participate, this event is open to all! For more information, visit the 4-H Summer Learning Series webpage.
Summer Camp Opportunities
Visit the Summer University Youth Programs’ Youth Summer Camps page to learn about a huge variety of camp experiences available to youth. From our traditional 4-H Camp and Learning Centers, to camps that focus on Academics, Art, Music, or Sports – there is something for everyone.
Maine 4-H Foundation Summer Camp Scholarships
The Maine 4-H Foundation has a limited number of scholarships for 4-H members for Blueberry Cove, Bryant Pond, Greenland Point, and Tanglewood. These scholarships are applied by the camp when you register and pay the deposit for camp. Scholarships are available from $50 to $200 depending on the camp expenses and needs.
The Maine 4-H State Dairy show will be July 22-24 at the Windsor Fairgrounds. The event is open to all Maine 4-H dairy project members 4-H ages 9 and above. In addition to the 4-H dairy show, the event includes a 4-H dairy fitting contest, grilled cheese contest, and educational workshops. For additional information and a schedule of events please visit the Maine 4-H State Dairy Show webpage.
Spring Newsletter Published
Head on over to the Homemakers Newsletter page to check out the latest issue of the Maine Extension Homemakers Newsletter.
Help Us Collect Can 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 email@example.com. You may also contact the Maine Extension Homemakers Coordinator, Lisa Fishman at 800.287.1421 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, Alice finished a Science and our Food Supply series with the youth at the Marti Stevens Learning Center, and an Eating Smart Being Active series at the El Rancho Addiction Treatment Center and at FEDCAP.
June was also a great month for some big events. Alice was a vendor at the KVCAP Community Baby Shower and also joined the Maine State 4H group who marched and attended the Portland Pride Parade for the first time.
Next month, Alice will be offering summer programming at a number of local schools.