Soil Suitability for Farming and Forestry: What You Need to Know

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Sidney Town Office, 2986 Middle Road, Sidney

 This workshop is for farmers, foresters, landowners, and other resource managers who are making choices about what to grow, and where. These choices are often based on understanding soils.

Most farms have woodlots which can contribute to the overall farm economy. In addition, some farmers need to convert land from forest to farmland. However, not all woodland soils are equally suitable for trees and agricultural crops, and conversion of woodland to agriculture can have mixed results. How to manage land and soil to maximize productivity – and key considerations about clearing forests for farming – are the focus of this workshop. (more…)

Planting Chestnuts in Waldo County

WCSW has joined the effort to support the work of the American Chestnut Foundation to develop a hybrid chestnut tree resistant to chestnut blight. This summer, our interns and a volunteer planted four trees which will be carefully monitored for health and resistance in the coming years. To learn more about the project, check out the American Chestnut Foundation in Maine.

Resources for Delayed Mowing Hayfield Management

For farmers interested in preserving wildlife habitat in their mowed fields, Ag Allies offers many resources. For more information, visit this link:
http://somersetswcd.org/ag-allies/On-Farm Delayed Mowing Program and incentive for active farm fields: We work with interested farmers and landowners to provide safe habitat for grassland bird nesting. This process involves on-farm assessments to identify fields in use by bobolinks and other grassland birds. Every situation is different, so we work with farmers and landowners to assess their grassland management and find the best options to make some room for the birds. Strategies include more intensive management of the most productive fields while delaying cuts on other fields or the establishment of un-mowed blocks within key nesting fields.
In addition, the program provides some incentive funds to encourage program participation and reduce the initial cost of management changes. If applicable, we will also direct farmers to the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), Grassland bird management practice; which is another option that provides an incentive payment for delayed mowing on fields for the 65 day period needed for bobolinks and other grassland birds to raise young.

Announcing Working with Your Woodland Series

Waldo County Small Scale Forest Stewardship Field Tours

Join us for a fun and practical series that will offer many ideas for enhancing and caring for your woodland. Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service are co-sponsoring a series of short field tours to highlight forest stewardship and conservation practices of private landowners, beginning in July. Many landowners have quietly been implementing a wide variety of careful, long-term management activities and techniques for years, to enhance their woodlands’ productivity, habitat, and beauty for decades to come. Some activities require considerable labor and resources, but others do not. These short tours are open to landowners, foresters, loggers, and others interested in the stewardship of small woodlands. The tours will provide a brief, two-hour introduction to the landowners and their goals, often with the forester and/or harvester working with the landowner. They will offer participants a chance to see some of the interesting work they have done, ask questions, and gather ideas for how to manage their own woods.

The first 3 tours are scheduled over the summer and early fall (each season we will offer more workshops in this ongoing series) beginning on Thursday, July 27th:

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WCSW Interns Join the NRCS Earth Team

This summer, our Community Conservation Corps program has created a unique opportunity to enhance our partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through shared training and volunteer work. WCSW interns participated in a learning session with NRCS District Conservationist Brittany Hummel and dairy farmer Sue Hunter to learn about nutrient management and the NRCS’ role in helping farmers. They also had an opportunity to assist with soil sampling after training with Megan Facciolo, NRCS Soil Conservationist, after which they completed soil sampling on their own at two other farms.

Learning about nutrient management
Soil sampling