The Somerset Newsflash, November 2023

Important Dates


The News

Tractor Safety Interest Form 

We have had some interest in the tractor safety course. Courses are offered in the spring, but to gauge interest and make preparations, planning begins as soon as the weather turns cold. 

Participants will learn how to handle tractors and equipment safely, how to identify hazards, and how to minimize the chances of accidents. The course is open to all interested adults and youth. A Federal Certificate of Training will be issued at the end of the course after successful completion of the written test and driving course and with attendance requirements met. This certificate is required for 14- and 15-year-olds who plan to operate farm equipment for hire on farms other than their own.

If you or ANYONE age 14 or older is interested in learning more, or to complete the interest form, please visit the UMCE Farm Tractor Safety page.

The News in Agriculture

Maine Agricultural Trades Show

The State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show is sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. There is no admission to attend this annual event. 2024 marks the 83rd gathering of exhibitors, conference presenters, free business coaching and advising, and networking opportunities.

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2024 – 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Wednesday, January 10, 2024 – 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Thursday, January 11, 2024 – 9 AM to 3 PM
  • The Augusta Civic Center is located at 76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330

New for 2024, food trucks (or similar mobile purveyors) will be featured, selling delicious Maine ingredients to attendees and participants. Food trucks (or similar mobile purveyors) are invited to complete the interest form by December 1. Please consider sharing this form with your favorite Maine food trucks!

Communicating about Personal Money Values Workshop

Join us for a 2-hour workshop for experienced (5 years+) farmers, you’ll hear directly from farmers who have thought about the non-business side of money. You’ll think about your own priorities and have a chance to talk with others about how you’d like to move forward with your personal time and value in mind just as much as your business value. You’ll learn about the option of farm coaching for continued support in your planning.

These workshops will be led by Abby Sadauckas, farm coach, and farmer from Apple Creek Farm, and Sylvie Boisvert, farm coach and business advisor.

There are three different dates and three different locations for this workshop. Register here.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 1-3 p.m. in Augusta, Maine
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 1-3 p.m. in Brunswick, Maine
  • Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 1-3 p.m. Online

Agritourism Course Opens for Small Ruminant Dairy Businesses

Maine farms offering agritourism as part of their business will have a chance to complete a coaching and training program to expand their business goals.

The program, available with support from Real Maine and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry’s (DACF), Agricultural Resources Division (ARD), the Maine Cheese Guild, and the USDA-supported Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center Grant funding, will begin the course in November 2023. 

Interested farms must complete an application before being chosen to partake in the approximately year-long course. Read more about the program on the DACF agritourism webpage.

Strawberry Production Guide

The second edition of the Strawberry Production Guide for the Northeast, Midwest, and Eastern Canada is now available online as a free downloadable pdf with a downloadable Microsoft Excel workbook

This guide is intended as a comprehensive resource for both novice and experienced strawberry growers in northeastern North America. It provides information on all aspects of strawberry culture. The second edition has been updated and revised throughout, and includes expanded and new information on variety selection (Ch. 3), production systems (Ch. 4), harvesting, handling and transportation (Ch. 12), marketing (Ch. 13) and budgeting/economics (Ch. 14). In addition, a new section on diagnosing problems in strawberry plantings has been added (Ch. 15).

Short of hay?

Excessive summer rains have hampered hay production this year, jeopardizing producers’ reserves for fall and winter.

UMaine Cooperative Extension hosts the Maine Hay Directory, for anyone looking to locate hay vendors within their area. You can also find suppliers or offer your hay on the following Facebook group pages:

Maine Hay Connection.

Maine Hay.

Hay for Sale Maine.

Central Maine Hay Group.

Hay Conections.

In addition, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture created the Farm Feed-Finder Marketplace, a resource for those looking to buy and/or sell animal feed. If you have hay or silage that you want to sell in the northeast region, you can register your farm in these databases.

In Vermont Marketplace, notice that in the upper left, there are two buttons, one for “Sell livestock feed” and another for “Find livestock feed.”

The News in 4-H

4-H Achievement Night

4H Clover

Somerset County’s Achievement Night is back! Please mark your calendars and plan to attend November 17 at the Kennebec Valley Grange in Madison. Set up is at 5:30 p.m. and program activities start at 6 p.m. There will be potluck desserts served- please plan to bring something to share. Let’s get together and celebrate our amazing 4-H community! 

Do you have photos, posters, or a scrapbook that you’d like to share that shows some of your club activities or programs? We’d love to have a display station for them!

New RockHounding Club Opportunity Starting in 2024

We are looking for participants for a new Rockhounding SPIN club starting in 2024. This hands-on experiential club will feature in person and virtual learning modules, utilizing the Gem & Mineral 4-H STEM Toolkit as well as other resources to study, identify and record rocks, gems, and minerals found in Maine. Participants will learn about the history of and discuss contemporary concerns regarding mining in Maine. We are planning to incorporate field trips to gem and mineral destinations, i.e. the Gem & Mineral Museum in Bethel, Poland Mining Camp, and the Gem & Mineral Show in Augusta. We plan to introduce special guest speakers in careers such as Geology, Paleontology, Earth Sciences, Oceanography, GIS, as well as introductions to other resources and groups. Please reach out to Karen Giles for more information.

For 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