Business Planning Course for Farmers Now Open

Are you ready to Re-strategize your Farm’s Business…?
…then it’s time to “press the pause button” and give yourself the time to refresh your thinking, connect with other farmers, reconnect with the reasons you got into farming, crunch some numbers, and get on (or get back on) the path toward sustaining yourself doing what you love. Registration for NxLevel™ Tilling the Soil of Opportunity, a business planning course tailored for Maine farmers, is now open. The instructor, Jed Beach of FarmSmart Business Services, has designed this course for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry – Maine Farms for the Future Program. The course is certified to provide Farm Service Agency (FSA) Borrower Training Credit.

In six sessions, you will:
●    Update your business goals – compare where you are now with where you want to be
●    Determine which crops are helping or hindering your goals
●    Evaluate existing & potential markets
●    Improve your time & people management skills
●    Create production and marketing plans that meet your goals
●    Evaluate potential financing opportunities and identify your best options
●    Write your new business plan – then make it a reality!

You will hear stories from practicing farmers and guest speakers who are experts in agricultural business, production and marketing. And, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other experienced growers including the farmers in the Maine Farms for the Future Program.

Each session begins at 9. Classes are held at the Kennebec Valley Community College – Farm Center in Hinckley and multiple farm/family members may attend. You can sign up for all six sessions, or register only for those sessions that are of most interest to you. You can also participate remotely via ZOOM for any or all sessions.

COURSE DATES: 12/12, 1/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27
$275 per farm for all six sessions or $50 per session
Click here to view more detailed information, including curriculum outlines for each session.

Here’s what some of last year’s participants had to say about the course:
“Worth every penny = take it.”
“This is the best option you have in Maine.”
“I would encourage them to take it no matter what their experience level is.”
“Do it”.
Contact Jed Beach, FarmSmart Business Services jed@farmsmartmaine.com or 207-370-9238.

You’re Invited – Please Join Us for our Annual Banquet November 7th!

All are welcome! We hope all of you interested in WCSWCD can join us for an evening of good company, good food and a talk by Morten Moesswilde, Maine Forest Service District Forester for Waldo County. Catch up with other folks interested in farms, forests and conservation in Waldo County, and hear what we’ve been up to. Conservation awards will also be presented. Cost is $10 per person.

The event will be held November 7th from 5:30-8:00pm at Aghaloma Farm in Knox, 270 Shibles Rd, Knox, ME 04986, Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hFSvGfnWKZL2

The Evening’s Agenda

5:30-6:00 Social hour: cider and tea
6:00-7:00 Dinner – See menu below
7:00-8:00 Dessert and Presentations:
 7:00-7:15 Programs in 2018 – Aleta McKeage
 7:15- 7:40 Talk by Morton Moesswilde, District Forester for Waldo County
   7:40-8:00 Conservation Awards

Menu

Choice of roast pork or chicken cordon bleu

Roasted red potatoes

Green beans

Apple crisp rolls

Don’t Miss Our Next Woodland Stewardship Tour Sept. 27th

Waldo County Soil & Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service’s series of short field tours highlighting forest stewardship and conservation continues.

Thursday, September 27, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Tour of the Newell Tree Farm, Thorndike –  Join us for this multi-faceted tour of the 2018 Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer runner-up. Don Newell has been managing this property for multiple resources for decades, and his efforts are impressive. We’ll take a look at thinning & regeneration projects, as well as invasive plant control treatments, wildlife enhancements, and trail/bridge projects. In a short two hours we’ll only see a fraction of Don’s work, but easily enough to provide any landowner with ideas and inspiration for managing their own woodlands.

Meet at the Newell property, on Ward Hill Road, just over 0.5 miles east from Route 220, just before the Unity/Thorndike town line. Turn in at the Newell Tree Farm sign and park on either side of the driveway.

These workshops are open to the general public, as well as landowners, foresters, loggers, and others interested in the stewardship of trees and woodlands. They offer a brief, two-hour opportunity for observation, questions, and discussion.

This event is free and open to the public, and involves walking outdoors (moderate difficulty), and will occur rain, snow, or shine. Please dress for field conditions. For more information contact Aleta McKeage, Technical Director of Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District at 207-218-5311 or Morten Moesswilde, Midcoast District Forester with the Maine Forest Service, at 207-441-2895.

Emerald ash borer Emergency Order expands to include York County towns

Public Informational Meeting to be held in Lebanon on October 1

In response to the discovery of emerald ash borer (EAB) infested trees in western York County, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Bureau of Forestry Director has expanded the Order Area in the Emergency Order to Stop Movement of Ash first issued in August of this year. The Emergency Order restricts the movement of certain ash (Fraxinus spp.) products and any untreated firewood from EAB infested towns in Maine.

Current Order Area Towns:

AROOSTOOK COUNTY towns of Frenchville, Grand Isle and Madawaska

YORK COUNTY towns of Acton, Berwick, Lebanon and Shapleigh

To protect the ash resources of the State of Maine from the unrestricted spread and establishment of a dangerous tree-killing forest pest, the Director of the Maine Bureau of Forestry has taken action and issued the Order pursuant to authority granted by 12 M.R.S. § 8305. For more information about EAB, or to view the full text of the order, visit the Department’s EAB information page: www.maine.gov/eab.

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Invasive Species Spotlight – Himalayan Jewelweed: Pull it out!

You may have noticed a very tall and attractive pink flower in fields and roadsides that is starting to bloom now. Himalayan jewelweed (Impatiens glandulifera) is a highly invasive plant that has become very problematic in areas near Waldo County, where it has completely crowded out our native asters, goldenrods and other wetland and open area plants in some places. It can also impact production areas managed for hay fields, pasture and blueberries. Himalayan jewelweed is unusually tall for an annual plant, often reaching 5-7 feet in height. It is a prolific plant (each plant can produce about 800 seeds with high germination rates), enabling it to out-compete native vegetation. Its replacement of perennial vegetation on river banks may lead to increased soil erosion. Himalayan jewelweed is found in early successional forest, edge, floodplain forest, railroad right-of-way, roadsides, wet meadows, as well as gardens and yard, preferring moist sites.  It is commonly found in riparian habitats (along streams). Himalayan jewelweed resembles our native jewelweed, which is orange flowered and not as tall.

The good news is, if you catch it early, it is relatively easy to manage. Pull gently on the plants and they generally come right out including the roots. Pulled plants should have dirt removed from roots and be placed on non- soil surfaces in the sun to dry out. Break off the flowers and bag them, closing the bag and leaving it in the sun for a while, then incinerate or dispose of the bag. The flowers can create their seed pods even if pulled. Ideally, pull the plants just as soon as you see them flowering, to avoid “popping” mature seed pods, which spread the seed by exploding. Cutting this plant or topping it will just cause it to quickly regrow new flowers. Plan to pull it the next year as well as new seeds sprout, but eventually you can eradicate it this way. Extensive stands can be managed with a foliar herbicide spray applied in July. There are many places in Waldo where this plant is just beginning to get a foothold, so pulling any you see on your land and talking to your neighbors about it may help us keep this plant at bay in our area.

If you enjoy having a tall, beautiful pink flower this time of year, a good substitute for Himalayan jewelweed is our native fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), which can be planted from purchased seeds, and coastal joe pye weed (Eutrochium dubium), available from Wild Seed Project.