David Handley, a vegetable and small fruit specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, spoke to the Bangor Daily News for an article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture offering new crop insurance options to cover fruits and vegetables. According to the article, the program will extend coverage to smaller farms as opposed to only benefiting growers of commodity crops, such as corn and soybeans. Previous insurance programs gave little incentive for farmers to diversify their crops, the article states. Handley said in previous Farm Bills, crop insurance appeared to cover the same crops that crop subsidies covered, and the new options appear to be an effort by the USDA to try to fix some of the current issues that haven’t been popular with farmers. “We are seeing a real resurgence in growth of diversified farms,” Rebar said. “They need some risk protection.”
The Portland Press Herald published a feature for its “Meet” series on David Fuller, a fiddlehead expert and agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Fuller spoke about identification and proper cooking methods as the fiddlehead season winds down. He said the ostrich fern has three core characteristics: a smooth lower stem; a deep, U-shaped curve on the inside of the stem; and a brown parchment-like paper that covers the top of the fiddlehead. “I tell folks you don’t really need to know the other ferns,” he said. “You just need to know that none of the other ferns have those three things.
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Daniel Williams, interim executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts, for the article “People behind Bangor’s entertainment industry laud growth.” Williams said he remembered people talking about building a “creative economy” in the Bangor area years ago and believes it is finally happening. At a Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Williams said he and other entertainment representatives are working to identify and fill their niche to provide a variety of entertainment offerings that appeal to diverse audiences. The BDN also quoted Williams in an article about the CCA offering the kickoff performance of a national tour of Stephen King and John Mellencamp’s musical “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” Williams said the first night of the show — in early November — will be the CCA’s gala opening for this year’s season. “It’s an incredibly exciting thing for us and for the region in general, as synonymous as we are with Stephen King,” he said. “We’re lucky enough to be the first stop on their national tour.”
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about Maine farmers experimenting with new crops for the region as weather patterns change. Moran said stone fruits, such as peaches, may one day end up playing a bigger role in Maine’s farming economy. She advises Maine farmers to weigh their tolerance for risk before investing in risky crops. “When you’re planting peaches, you have to be willing to lose every tree. If you can’t handle that, stick with something tried and true like apples,” she said.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the annual Clean Sweep Sale held at the University of Maine. Items for sale were donated by the university or students who moved out of the dorms at the end of the semester. Proceeds from the sale support programs and services offered by the Black Bear Exchange and student service projects coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism. According to the report, several students volunteered at the sale that was put on by the Bodwell Center. The center serves to educate students on the importance of helping others.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region blog, “Conserving the Nature of the Northeast,” cited research by two University of Maine students in the blog post “Birdseye view: Avian science meets hurricane recovery.” The article focused on studies by the Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program (SHARP), a collaborative effort between the Fish and Wildlife Service and several other academic, governmental and privately funded partners that aim to provide critical information for the conservation of tidal-marsh birds. The article cited research for the SHARP program conducted by UMaine students Mo Correll and Meaghan Conway, who are working on the project with Brian Olsen, an assistant professor of biology and ecology.