The Somerset Newsflash, October 2022

Important Dates


Contents


The News in the County


Seeking New Members for Our Executive Board!

UMaine Cooperative Extension can only be successful with the help of county residents serving on the Executive Committee. Board members provide oversight and support to staff, as well as help promote programs.

Somerset County Cooperative Extension provides a broad range of programs: 4-H youth development, assistance to commercial farmers and home gardeners, and food and nutrition education.

Executive Committee members are asked to attend several meetings a year focusing on county programming, building maintenance input, and finances. Members can certainly follow their interests and become more involved in any of the county programs.

If you’re interested in UMaine Extension programs and giving back to your community, serving on the Executive Committee is a great place to be! For more information, please contact our office at 207.474.9622 or email brett.w.johnson@maine.edu or karen.giles@maine.edu

Our next board meeting will be held on Monday, October 24, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Anyone interested in joining our board is welcome to attend!

Brett’s Bulletin: Issues Impacting Somerset’s Farms & Gardens

October is for planting garlic.

GarlicIn Somerset County, hardneck garlic (Allium sativum spp. Sativum) should be planted between October 15 and November 1. Choose a site where the soil is well-drained. Creating a weed-free bed and applying lime to correct soil pH to 6.5 will allow for maximum availability of soil nutrients during establishment. Adding up to one-inch of compost and incorporating into the top six inches of soil before planting will help your garlic establish a strong root system in the fall. Additional fertilizer can be applied either in the fall at planting or in the spring based on recommendations from a standard soil test. If a soil test is not available, the use of a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer is ideal and should be incorporated into the soil at a rate of 5 tablespoons per six cloves. 

Choose the largest garlic bulbs to plant and only plant garlic that is healthy in appearance and free from disease. Plant cloves 4 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart in the row. Rows should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. Water in your garlic after planting and mulch the planting bed with 6 to 12 inches of straw. In the spring when shoots begin to emerge pull mulch back from around plants and leave in between rows to conserve moisture and smother weeds. More information on growing garlic can be found in Bulletin #2063, Growing Garlic in Maine.

Alice’s Adventures: EFNEP Updates for the Month of August

Alice has started teaching youth nutrition classes with the R.E.A.C.H afterschool program at Bloomfield, Skowhegan Area Middle School, and the Margaret Chase Smith School.

She is also continuing to teach the Eating Smart Being Active series at El Rancho De La Vida Addiction and Recovery Center and has recently started a hybrid class series at the McAuley Residence in Bangor.


The News


Maine Horticulture Apprentice

Woman planting seedlingsDeveloped with input from horticulture industry leaders, this 3-part, comprehensive curriculum is designed to supply learners with a foundational horticulture education for skilled entry-level positions in the industry. Visit the Maine Horticulture Apprentice webpage for more information.

Fall Food Safety Training for Volunteers Cooking for Crowds

Two women preparing foodUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer several opportunities for volunteer cooks to receive important food safety training in September and October. “Cooking for Crowds” will be available through both in-person workshops in multiple locations and via Zoom.

This popular course offers up-to-date information on how to handle, transport, store and prepare foods safely for large group functions such as soup kitchens, church suppers, food pantries and community fundraisers. Participants receive a manual specifically designed for volunteer cooks, certificate of attendance, posters, a magnet and thermometers. This class meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements.

The $15 per person fee includes all materials. Register and find more details on the Cooking for Crowds webpage. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

Preserving the Maine Harvest Webinar Series 2022

October 20, 2022, 12:00-12:45 p.m.

Join the University of Maine Cooperative Extension food preservation staff for a lively discussion and demonstration on how to preserve Maine foods throughout our growing season.

$5 suggested donation per class.

Registration is required – Participants will receive the Zoom information after registering for this event. For more information and to register, visit the program webpage.

If you need technical assistance, please contact Eavan Sibole at eavan.sibolelittle@maine.edu or 207.781.6099.

Greenhouse Plastic Recycling Program

Greenhouse covered in plasticUniversity 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; agplasticrecycling@maine.edu.


The News in Agriculture


It’s Conference Season!

Farmer to Farmer Conference now open for registration. November 5-7, 2022. In person at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine. Join us for two farm tours in Old Town and Newburgh and over 28 sessions covering topics like leasing land, selling to schools, protected strawberry production, stress management, slaughter capacity in Maine, QuickBooks, grant writing and more! Plus a keynote address from Maggie Cheney, co-owner and general manager of Rock Steady Farm in Millerton, New York.

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference registration now open. December 13-15, 2022. Register early: You will get a much more affordable rate if you register before the end of November (and if you register as a group!). Although the schedule of presenters and workshops has yet to be published, this event will be in person in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Northeast SARE Farmer Grower Grants

Northeast SARE offers grants to farmers to explore new concepts in sustainable agriculture conducted through experiments, surveys, prototypes, on-farm demonstrations or other research and education techniques. Farmer Grant projects address issues that affect farming with long-term sustainability in mind.

Competitive proposals explore new ideas and techniques or apply known ideas in new ways or with new communities. Reviewers look to fund projects that are well-designed to meet proposed objectives and promise the greatest benefit to farming communities.

A wide variety of topics can be funded by Northeast SARE, including marketing and business, crop production, raising livestock, aquaculture, social sustainability, climate-smart agriculture practices, urban and Indigenous agriculture and much more.

For more information, visit the Farmer Grant Program webpage.

Swine Management Seminar

A farmer feeding 4 pigsThe Animal Health Program at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is pleased to present a half day Swine Management Seminar at the Pineland Campus in New Gloucester, Maine. This opportunity is sponsored by USDA/NIFA Northeast SARE, and features the final report and handouts developed from the project, Biosecurity Preparedness, Infectious Disease Prevention, and Farmer Training on Northern New England Swine Farms.

In response to this project’s assessment of current on-farm disposal practices, we are pleased to offer a dynamic presentation on compost pile construction and management, including a hands-on assessment of material quality. The seminar will also feature a presentation on funding opportunities for on-farm composting projects. The day will conclude with a taste of how feeding practices and alternative feeds affect pork carcass quality. Before you leave, there will be a distribution of FREE biosecurity and composting supplies to send you out the door ready to apply what you have learned on your own operations!

Date: Friday, October 28, 2022

Time: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Location: Room A, Pineland Farms Conference Center, 16 Pineland Dr, New Gloucester, ME 04260

Lunch: Provided by Black Tie Catering – deadline for registration for lunch is October 19 end of day. Registrations after October 19 are not guaranteed a lunch. Water, coffee, and tea provided.

Cost: No fee, includes lunch, supported by USDA/NIFA Northeast SARE

Registration Contact: Erica Coombs erica.coombs@maine.gov or 207-287-3701 to register anytime. Name, phone, email address, # for lunch, choice of ham, turkey, or tuna sandwich (by end of October 19 for lunch reservation). May register to attend up until October 27, 3:00 pm.

Speakers:

  • Maine Pork Producers Association, Membership and Benefits, Brittany Hemond, President of Maine Pork Producers Association, Minot, Maine
  • Biosecurity Preparedness, Infectious Disease Prevention, and Farmer Training on Northern New England Swine Farms; Final Summary of Project. Carolyn Hurwitz, Maine DACF Assistant State Veterinarian and Carol Delaney, Maine DACF Animal Health Program Livestock Specialist
  • Build a Great Compost Pile from Your Animal Waste, Mark A. King, Remediation and Waste Management, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
  • NRCS Assistance with Animal Waste Handling. Luis E. Aponte, USDA-NRCS District Conservationist, District Conservationist (Cumberland and York Counties)
  • Effects of feeding systems, alternative feeds and carcass quality. Colt Knight, UMaine Cooperative Extension Livestock Specialist
  • Biosecurity and Compost supply drawing/distribution. Hurwitz and Delaney

QuickBooks for Farms Course

Starting Nov. 7th: SCORE Maine and University of Maine Cooperative Extension are pleased to offer this QuickBooks workshop series tailored to small farms and agriculture businesses. This important software can help with your invoicing, tracking sales and expenses, and handling your bookkeeping requirements for tax preparation. QuickBooks will let you sync your data across your computer, tablet and smart phone mobile devices when you need it. This is a hands-on workshop so you need either a desktop PC or a laptop available! The version we will use targets the PC platform and not the Apple laptop so please ensure you are a PC-based user. Free! More info and register here.

Dairy Farm Innovation Grant

Dairy CowNortheast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC)

This program will provide grants for dairy farmers to access resources and technical assistance to support the implementation of community- and climate-forward production strategies.

Projects funded through this grant program should take a whole farm system approach and increase collaboration with other farms or dairy sector stakeholders.

Projects may address improvements in topics such as, but are in no way limited to: switching breeds, creating new models for collaborative/cooperative milk production, increased young farmer engagement, alternative business ownership/management models, development of green technologies, farm-scale appropriate technology improvements, or creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Grants will range from $10,000 to $75,000 with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required.

Application opens: November 1, 2022

Application deadline: February 2, 2023

For more information, visit the Dairy farm Innovation Grant webpage.

Farm Tax Reminders

Fall is a good time to review farm tax incentives and exemptions that you may not be taking advantage of for your operation.

Alex Redfield, Farm Viability and Farmland Protection Specialist, with the MDACF assembled some Maine Farm Tax Reminders.

Click here for his Maine Farm Tax Reminders for 2022.

Alex can be contacted at MDACF, 90 Blossom Lane, Augusta, ME 04333 (Alexander.Redfield@maine.gov) or 207-592-0640

Also, Rural Tax Education released a factsheet this year on Farm, Farming, and Who’s a Farmer for Tax Purposes that is an interesting read focused on Federal income taxes for farms.

The Farmers Tax Guide #225 for this year is not available yet, but you can view the 2021 tax year farmers tax guide here.

Do you have enough forage this year?

Our factsheet How Maine Farmers Can Determine if They Have Enough Hay and Forage for the Winter walks you through steps to estimate how much you need and how much you have in storage.

Our YouTube video Got Livestock – Need Hay features Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor, who shares information on how to assess what you have for feed, assess how much feed you will need for the next six to seven months, and strategies to consider if you don’t have enough feed.

Maine Hay Directory – if you need hay or have hay to sell check out this site.

Maine Farmers Market Price Report

The Maine Farmers Market Price Report is a website where weekly data is uploaded and available for all to access.

Made possible with funding throughout the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry and the support of the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maine Farmland Trust and the University of Maine, this new site is now up and running, piloting a new statewide price report which will be focused on farmers market prices for a limited number of crops (in 2022) with the aim of building a tool that will expand into other markets and products in the future.

UMaine Extension Ag Impact Survey 

Dear Newsletter and Mailing Recipient,

We continue to be asked by our funders what impacts we have made on clients we have served in the past year. As a recipient of one or more of our agriculturally oriented newsletters or mailings, we would like to ask if you have utilized information from the newsletters, consultations with UMaine Extension staff, or attendance at virtual or live meetings to make a change in your operation.

We would also like to take the opportunity to gather your input regarding future topics to be presented in these newsletters, mailings and other venues.

This brief survey should only take approximately 5 minutes of your time. Thank you for helping us inform our stakeholders about the difference we have made in your farming endeavors and guiding us in our decisions regarding upcoming outreach efforts.

Donna Coffin, Rebecca Long, David Marcinkowski, Colt Knight, Jason Lilley, Sean Birkel, Glenda Pereira, Nick Rowley, Brett Johnson, and Chris Howard

Take the Survey

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:

Learn more and find archived editions here.

PFAS Resource Hubs


The News in 4-H


4H Clover

Somerset 4-H Meet ‘N Greet to be Scheduled in Early November

There has been a lot of interest from potential new members and volunteers recently! To help them understand what 4-H is and get them involved, we would like to hold a gathering on a Saturday in early November with some fun activities, potentially at the extension office. Existing club members and volunteers are invited to attend as well. More details will be coming soon! Please reach out to karen.giles@maine.edu if you or someone you know is interested in joining 4-H!

It’s Re-enrollment Time

There is a new option available for families for the new 4-H Year. Starting October 1, families will have the ability to log into their account on the ZSuite platform and complete their re-enrollment, as well as all required forms, online. If you were enrolled for the 2021-2022 year, you can simply visit the ZSuite Website, click “Forgot Password?” and complete the prompts using the email address to which you receive your 4-H communications.

You are also welcome to reach out to your county staff or to the State Office at 4-H@maine.edu. If you would prefer to continue to complete paper forms, they can be found online on the 4-H Form web page, or by reaching out to your county office. The deadline to register is December 31.

4-H Volunteer Training Starts October 19

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a two-part online training for adults interested in becoming 4-H volunteers from 6–7 p.m. October 19 and October 26.

Start Your 4-H Volunteer Journey” will explore the ways volunteers can become involved with UMaine Extension 4-H, what the 4-H youth development program is about and requirements for becoming a volunteer. Participants will also hear from youth and volunteers currently active in Extension 4-H and do a hands-on activity together.

The training is free; registration is required by October 12. Register on the event webpage. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Jennifer Lobley, 207.255.3345; jennifer.lobley@maine.edu.

Maine participation at the Big E

4-H dairy students competed at the big E in various events including quiz-bowl, grilled cheese and milkshake contest, clipping and fitting contest, showmanship and dairy judging contest.

The students even took some awards home, with an honorable mention heifer in the 4-H dairy show, a reserve showmanship in the junior division, and the Maine dairy judging A team won overall in dairy judging. The 4 students on the A team finished in the top 5 overall for reasons. The B team was 3rd overall in reasons, and only had 3 students on the team. Congrats to all involved in this opportunity!


The News in Homemakers


Help Us Collect Can Tabs

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 ritafortin2@gmail.com. You may also contact the Maine Extension Homemakers Coordinator, Lisa Fishman at 800.287.1421 or at lisa.fishman@maine.edu.