The Somerset Newsflash, October 2023

Important Dates


The News in the County

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

Alice Cantrell is our Nutrition Community Education Assistant and leads classes as part of Cooperative Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).

Table full of ingredientsThis month Alice went to the Maine Hunger Dialogue, which was held on the UMaine Orono campus. She helped facilitate and judge a cooking contest called Soup Happens!, which was a competition between two high school teams from Mexico and Houlton. Each team made two gallons of soup which were later donated to The Black Bear Exchange. All unused ingredients and produce were distributed to food pantries around the Penobscot county area.

The Maine Hunger Dialogue, collage of student chefs making soup

From Alice:

Attending the event was a great way to end my time in EFNEP, as I have accepted a new job and will be leaving Cooperative Extension. I have greatly enjoyed my four and a half years getting to know and work within the community of Somerset County. Make sure you stay up to date on what is happening in EFNEP on our webpage. There are always exciting classes going on throughout the state and new recipes to try!

Farewell to Alice!

Alice Cantrell, our Community Education Assistant for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, has accepted a new job at another organization. We are very sad for this loss to Somerset County, but are thrilled for Alice and this new opportunity for her career. Good luck, Alice! You will be missed!

While we work to fill her former position, we will be forwarding your food and nutrition questions to our statewide colleagues. If you know someone who may be interested in the position, please have them contact us at or at 207.474.9622.

The News

Jumping Worms are Here in Maine

To learn more about them, and what to do if you find them, check out this article by Lynne Holland, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Horticulture Professional, and Shelby Hartin, Master Gardener Volunteer in Penobscot County.

If you’re a gardener, you may want to subscribe to the Maine Home Garden News newsletter!

The News in Agriculture

Safety Series: Stress and Mental Health Support and Resources Available

This year has been an extremely tough one. Mother nature has put many kinks in farmers best laid plans, starting all the way back in February. This weekend is expected to be no exception. From the crop loss, lost market days, extra hours during the few decent weather stretches, to the messy fields, it has been a lot. At Extension, we want you all to know that we are here for you.

Our Farm and Ranch Assistance Network has some great resources on stress management on the farm including easily accessible videos and a podcast.

If you or someone you know are in crisis, this information page also includes contact information for various suicide prevention hotlines and resources, including farmer specific resources. Or just dial 988.

Please reach out if there are ways that Extension can support you. If regional farmer get-togethers, virtual coffee hours for connecting with other growers, or other support would be beneficial, please let us know at or (207) 581-3487.

Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Fellowship Program Begins Soon

These cohort-based learning opportunities are for farmers and agricultural advisors in the Northeast and Midwest who are interested in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and planning, as well as peer-to-peer networking and support. 

 Applications are due by 11:59 PM on November 11, 2023. Apply here. For more information and a description of the program, please visit our website.

If you have questions related to this application, please do not hesitate to contact Rachel Schattman by email (

MOFGA’s Farm Beginnings Accepting Applications

MOFGA’s Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for producers with at least one year of sales records, this nine-week business course helps farmers and food producers develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of resources, skills and markets. The application deadline is November 1.

Agricultural Worker Minimum Wage Committee Formed: Worker and Farmer Input Needed

Governor Mills signed an executive order to form the Agricultural Worker Minimum Wage Committee. The Committee is tasked with developing legislation for introduction in the second session of the 131st Legislature. That legislation is intended to:

  1. Implement a minimum wage for agricultural workers,
  2. Identify the impacts the bill will have through other laws interconnected with Federal and State wage and hour laws,
  3. And ensure the full range of impacts are thoroughly understood by both agricultural employers and their workers.

The committee is seeking input from farm workers and farmers. Past meeting recordings, the schedule of meeting dates, related resources, and an email for commenting are all hosted at the committees webpage.

Members of the public are also welcome to attend the meetings virtually, and to have their voices heard live through that format.

The News in 4-H

Environmental Education with Project Learning Tree at Extension Office

October 20, 2023 at the Somerset County Extension Office and Yankee Woodlot

Join University of Maine professor from the School of Forest Resources Jessica Leahy, PhD, and Sara King from Rural Aspirations for an experiential opportunity in soil and water environmental education. The program will be based on activities from Project Learning Tree and will take place from 1- 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 20. The students will work in small groups, and range from ages 8-18. Limited spaces available for this amazing opportunity. Contact Karen Giles by Thursday, October 19 to sign up.

It’s Time to Enroll for the New 4-H Year!

If you manage your family’s account via ZSuite, re-enrollment is just a few clicks away:

Login at

  1. Click on the PRIMARY profile and enter your 4-character PIN.
  2. Click on the name of the youth member you wish to enroll.
  3. Click on ENROLL MEMBER NOW.
  4. Review/update the requested member information. When you are done with that, click NEXT
  5. Here you will read and electronically sign the 4-H participation waiver(s), click NEXT
  6. Here is where you will select your club or clubs and desired projects. There may be clubs and projects listed that carried over from your enrollment during the last program year.
  7. To add clubs, select your county. This defaults to the county submitted when you created your account. You may need to select another county to find your desired club.
  8. Select your Club from the drop-down menu. Select ADD CLUB.
  9. To add projects for any of the clubs, select ADD PROJECT for the desired clubs. Select the desired project from the drop-down menu. Select ADD PROJECT and selection will be added to the club. Feel free to add additional clubs or projects. Remember to only add projects youth will be significantly involved in for the year. If you make a mistake or wish to remove a project, select the X and confirm you wish to delete the project.
  10. When done making your selections, click Submit.

Enrollment records need to be active/green status before engaging in 4-H activities and to register for events.

Please remember: NEW volunteers must go through the onboarding process, accessible on the volunteer site or by reaching out to the County Extension Office at 207.474.9622 or

4H CloverFor more 4-H news, check out 4-H Happenings, our monthly 4-H newsletter for Somerset County.

The News in Homemakers

Homemaker LogoExtension Homemakers is a volunteer group that develops leadership skills, supports community causes, and promotes UMaine Extension’s educational programs in nine Maine counties. These organized programs are part of the statewide network of Extension Homemakers.

Local group members meet throughout the year to participate in educational programs and identify community projects, such as providing assistance to local food pantries, nursing homes, or veterans groups, or funding educational scholarships or youth camp programs.

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