The Somerset Newsflash, November 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 Thursday, December 8, at 6:00 PM. Anyone interested in joining our board is welcome to attend!

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

Plan to manage overwintering insects in your spring garden

As cold temperatures begin to set in this month, frozen ground is just around the corner. What is typically on my mind as I prepare my garden for winter is how the insects that were most prolific in my vegetable plots this year will be preparing themselves to survive the winter. Many pests of vegetable crops can overwinter in your garden.

The first step in managing pest issues is to identify the insect that is causing damage in your garden. Learn about the life cycle and be knowledgeable of how the insect survives from year to year. Of special interest are those insects that overwinter in their adult stages by boring into the soil. Pests like the Colorado potato beetle emerge in the spring, walk or fly to their host (potato, tomato, or eggplant), and begin feeding, mating and laying eggs. Planting these crops in plots distant from where they were cultivated the previous season and covering young seedlings with row cover on low tunnels can encourage overwintered adults to pursue more distant hosts. Fall and early spring tillage can also help reduce survival of overwintering adults. 

For identification of insect pests or for more information on how to manage overwintering insects contact our office by phone 207.474.9622 or email extension.somerset@maine.edu.

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


Food Preservation Webinars & Recordings

Ongoing and offered via Zoom

Looking for food preservation webinars recordings and resources? Recorded webinars and UMaine extension publications may all be found on our Food Preservation website for your reference.

New Small Business Specialist

Jason Entsminger has been named assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation and assistant Extension professor and small business specialist at the University of Maine. He comes to UMaine from the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD), hosted at Pennsylvania State University. NERCRD is one of four such centers established by USDA to coordinate research and Extension activities that support rural community development. There he led the center’s outreach-oriented mission, engaging with northeast land grant universities and rural development partners.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Entsminger will be joining the Maine Business School and UMaine Cooperative Extension in this new joint position,” shared Hannah Carter, dean of UMaine Extension. “This position addresses both academic and industry needs, and we expect Jason will have an immediate impact as he has a great deal of knowledge and experience especially as it relates to small, rural businesses.”

Entsminger earned his Ph.D. in agricultural and applied economics at the University of Missouri. He holds master’s degrees from the University of Florida and a consortium of European institutions. His three bachelor’s degrees are from the University of Nevada, Reno.


The News in Agriculture


It’s Conference Season!

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.

GenerationNext Seminars 

  • In Person: Waterville: December 7, 28, and January 25
  • In-Person: Presque Isle: December 8, 29, and January 26
  • Virtual (8 sessions): January 12 through March 2. Thursdays, 1-3pm.

Fee: $199 (Free for Maine farmers) for 1 in-person series or 1 virtual series

GenerationNext is a series of seminars, hosted by Farm Credit East, geared towards farm workers or farm owners, designed to advance your management skills and farm business knowledge. Each seminar includes group discussions, idea sharing, and networking opportunities. The Maine New Farmers Project is offering a full scholarship for any new farmer in Maine to attend one of the seminars listed above. (Farmers pay when registering and get refunded after participating). For more information and registration.

Save the Date: UMaine Livestock and Forage Session at the Maine Ag Trade Show

Our team will be sharing information at the Maine Agricultural trade show on Tuesday January 10. Be sure to sit in our sessions discussing livestock and forage research and general knowledge.

January 10, 11, 12, 2023

Visit Maine Agricultural Trades Show webpage for more updates.

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.

Mills Administration Creates PFAS Fund Advisory Committee and Hires Elizabeth Fuller Valentine as PFAS Fund Director

The Mills Administration has named Elizabeth (Beth) Fuller Valentine as the new PFAS Fund Director and announced the list of appointed members to serve on the newly established PFAS Fund Advisory Committee.

The PFAS Fund was established to address PFAS contamination of agricultural land through a suite of programs and approaches that may include:

  • Direct support to farmers such as income replacement and equipment, facilities, and infrastructure investments to enable farmers to transition to alternative cropping systems or implement remediation strategies;
  • Medical testing and monitoring of individuals whose agricultural land is contaminated by PFAS;
  • And research, for example, to support short-term farm management decisions and identify soil and water remediation systems.

Learn more here

Maine’s Federal Delegation introduces the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act

All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation are co-sponsoring legislation that would authorize federal support for farmers impacted by PFAS contamination. Funds would be used to cover costs associated with testing of soil and water, blood monitoring, modifying cropping systems, implementing remediation strategies, educational programs, research on PFAS remediation systems, and farm relocation if land is no longer viable.

You can read the press release from the office of Senator Susan Collins, 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.

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

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


The News in 4-H


4H Clover

Somerset 4-H Meet ‘N Greet to be Scheduled

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 virtual meeting, with some possible in-person small groups. 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.


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.