University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering growers a training session for the Bureau of Pesticide Control (BPC) private pesticide applicator core exam. Training will be 3–6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the UMaine Extension Oxford County office, 9 Olson Road, South Paris. Participants also have the option of taking the exam 6–7:30 p.m.
Effective April 1, 2015, a new Maine state law requires a pesticide license for fruit, vegetable and grain growers who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides, and annually sell more than $1,000 of plants or plant products intended for human consumption. Each operation must have at least one licensed owner or employee on the farm. To qualify for the license, the candidate must pass the private pesticide applicator core exam.
Cost for training is $10. For more information, to register for the training or request a disability accommodation, contact Barbara Murphy, 207.743.6329, firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will provide professional development for afterschool providers at seven locations across the state beginning in January 2015.
During the 10 hours of training, positive youth development concepts suitable for after-school programs and the interactive 4-H science curriculum will be highlighted. The agenda includes webinar overviews of the 4-H Afterschool Academy and 4-H science resources; an e-learning course for 4-H volunteers; and two in-person training sessions on the 4-H program model and the 4-H science curriculum.
Course fee is $60; CEU credits are available. Registration deadline is Friday, Dec. 19. To register and for academy locations, dates and times, visit umaine.edu/4h/youth/how-can-you-participate-in-4-h/afterschool/academy. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jennifer Lobley, 207.255.3345, 800.287.1542(in Maine), email@example.com.
Create cranberry gifts in the kitchen from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
Kate McCarty, UMaine Extension preservation community education assistant, will lead the second in a yearlong series of “From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen” workshops that highlight and connect Maine foods, local cookbook authors and experts.
Workshop participants will make spiced cranberry-pear jam, cranberry rice pilaf mix, and cranberry granola with local cranberries and Maine grains. A jar of each product and recipes will be available to take home. In addition, Allison Carroll Duffy will sign her book, “Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin” and a holiday-theme door prize will be given away.
Tori Jackson, University of Maine Extension educator, was cited in a Sun Journal story about Maine having the second-highest rate of farms in the United States.
The number of farms in Maine increased by nearly 1,000 from 2002 (7,196) to 2012 (8,136), according to the article. In 2013, UMaine Extension worked with more than 1,000 people who expressed interest in farming, says Jackson, an associate professor of agriculture and natural resources. “Physically, economically, it’s a tough business to be in. I really attribute it to the huge interest in local foods. Maine and Vermont are at the top of the list in saying ‘I value local food’ and then actually buying it,” she says.
Ellen Mallory, a sustainable agriculture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, is leading a project that aims to help inform farmers’ decisions about adopting soil health strategies.
The yearlong project, “Building knowledge, skills and networks for soil security in Maine,” received a $44,442 grant from the University of Vermont which administers funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Protecting and improving soil on farms is critical to the long‐term productivity of agriculture in Maine, according to the researchers. However, many agriculture service providers say they are ill-equipped to help farmers and cite a lack of region‐specific information and concrete local examples of successful cover cropping, reduced tillage and rotational practices.
The project will establish teams of agricultural service to increase their ability to help farmers make informed decisions about adopting specific soil health strategies for three farm types: potato‐grain in northern Maine, dairy in central Maine, and mixed vegetable in south‐central Maine, according to the proposal.
Team members will participate in training, work with farmers on demonstration trials, and create video and written profiles of successful soil health/cover cropping practices with how‐to information that will be made available to the public on a project website, the researchers state.
Dana Morse, a Maine Sea Grant researcher who works at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was quoted in an article published by The Free Press about Maine Foodie Tours — tours of restaurants and markets that offer local food — coming to Rockland in the summer of 2015. The Rockland tour will include information on Maine aquaculture. Morse said fish farming in the state is booming. He listed mussels, hard- and soft-shell clams, scallops, sugar kelp, oysters and salmon as the focus of sea-farm industries in Maine.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in an article published by The Guardian that looks at Maine’s growing artisan grain industry. The article focuses on Skowhegan’s Somerset Grist Mill and Maine Grains, a wholesaler producing stone-milled flour and related products from grains grown by local farmers. “Lots of people are experimenting and working to get the quality of grain to a place where they can sell it,” said Amber Lambke, co-founder of Somerset Grist Mill and Maine Grains. “The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has been studying organic bread wheat production in Maine and are supporting the farmers to grow grains.
The Boothbay Register reported Damian Brady, an assistant research professor in the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences at the Darling Marine Center, has been appointed the assistant director for research at Maine Sea Grant. Brady’s research combines approaches from disciplines including marine biology, biogeochemistry and environmental engineering to address questions about water quality and ecosystem function. Brady will oversee Maine Sea Grant’s research portfolio and will manage the next request for research proposals in early 2015. He will serve as a liaison between Sea Grant faculty, students and staff at UMaine and other research institutions, and the Marine Extension Team.
Data provided by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in the Michigan State University Extension article, “Why do we eat cranberries at Thanksgiving?” According to UMaine Extension, American Indians used cranberries as a food source, to dye fabric and as medicine, the article states. Due to the importance of cranberries in the 1500s and their abundance, it is believed the pilgrims and the American Indians would have eaten them at the first Thanksgiving, the article continues.
The University of Maine was mentioned in a Mainebiz article about seaweed farming and the expansion of Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, a Down East company that sells sea vegetables as whole foods. According to UMaine’s Maine Sea Grant, there are more than 250 species of sea vegetables in the Gulf of Maine. Although most are edible, fewer than a dozen are commercially harvested, the article states. In 2013, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables began working with the UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin and Maine Sea Grant to develop seeded nets and ropes for aquaculture production, the article states. Sea Grant’s research on seaweed farming that is building on research conducted by Susan Brawley, a professor of plant biology in the School of Marine Sciences and a cooperating professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, also was mentioned. “There’s a lot of momentum, as a new industry,” said Sarah Redmond, a marine extension agent for Maine Sea Grant at CCAR, of seaweed farming.