The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walter Whitcomb appointed a temporary replacement for no longer than one year. That position is being filled by Arthur Dunlap of Poland.
Any person desiring to be recommended for appointment to the office of District Board Supervisor should contact the Conservation District.
Technical Assistance Offered to Residents of Lake Auburn Watershed
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District will be partnering with the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission in the 319 EPA/MDEP Clean Water Act Grant Project. We have contracted with Jeff Stern to offer a technical assistance service to landowners in the Lake Auburn Watershed with erosion and stormwater runoff issues.
Maine's Conservation Districts Highlighted--A Great Accolade!
State Officials stress the importance of Conservation Districts to soil health, water quality and wise use of the land, forest and water resources
Released from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry-Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Augusta - Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) officials are highlighting the important work of Maine Soil and Water Conservation Districts in speeches in Slowhegan and Gorham this week. Commissioner Walt Whitcomb and Deputry Commissioner Dave Lavway are scheduled to speak at meetings of the Maine State Grange and Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District about the value of Conservation Districts to Maime communities, agriculture and the natural resource economy.
"The last Census of Agriculture highlighted the strength of Maine agriculture and its potential to put more food on the table, provide jobs and create economic opportunities," said Governor Paul R. LePage at a debate for the Governor's race. "There are more Maine farms now, and the market value of Maine agricutural products has increased 24 percent. Soil and Water Conservation Districts are an important part of that success. For the amount of money invested, Conservation Districts provide taxpayers witht the biggest bang for the buck in natural resource management. The valuable work that they do does not receive enough attention or financial support."
"Maine needs to develop its natural resources economy through prevention of soil erosion, improvement of soil health, protection and restoration of water quality and wise use of our land, forests, and water," said DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. "Meeting these challenges requires a public-private partnership that Conservation Districts have developed over the past 70 years. The LePage Administration has actively strengthened an important partnership that improves natural resource management."
"Agriculture is growing in Maine, with more farms and more acres devoted to producing locally-grown food with sustainable farming practices," said Deputy Commissioner Lavway. "The Maine Soil and Water Conservation Districts have recognized this trend and are developing programs to promote soil health and public awareness of agriculture."
Benefits of Soil and Water Conservation Districts:
Soil and Water Conservation Districts help prevent soil erosion, improve soil health, protect and restore water quality. They promote wise use of land, forest and water resources. They achieve these objectives by establishing public-private partnerships.
Conservation Districts bring numerous partners together--federal, state agencies, local governments, farmers, woodlot owners, lakeshore residents, business and industry -- to find effective solutions to local natural resource problems.
Soil and Water Conservation Districts are important partners in the merged Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. They epitomize the collaborative approach to natural resource managemnent that Governor LePage envisoned when he and the Legislature combined these three agencies into Maine's largest natural resource Department.
Conservation Districts extend the Department's ability to reach local landowners. Districts are one of the most trusted sources for unbiased information on natural resource management.
Maine's Conservation Districts leverage over $15 million in grants, appropriations, cash contributions, and volunteer labor to conserve, improve and sustain natural resources. Every State dolloar invested in Conservation Districts produces over $18 in additonal funding for conservation work.
Andy Valley Succesful Farmer Series
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District received funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program Agreement #68-1218-13-17 to offer "The Andy Valley Successful Farmer". For beginning farmers, in business under ten years, there are many opportunities available through the Beginner Farmers Resource Network. Check this site out: http://www.umaine.edu/beginning-farmer-resource-network/.
During the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we held 5 workshop sessions. These included Forest Harvesting Management, Vegetable and Fruit Crop Management, Soil Health and Nutrient Management, Pest Management for Fruit and Vegetables, Transitioning To and Organic Production, and Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production.
Professional Development Workshop
Maine Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Project was funded through a grant with SARE. February 24, 2014 a Professional Develoment Workshop was held for those providing services to farmers.
USDA Local Work Group Meeting
The Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a meeting of the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties USDA Local Work Group Meeting on December 19, 2013. Fifteen people attended the meeting.
The local resource categories and percentages in the funding pools will be animal waste with 75%, cropland and pasture with 20%, and small farms with 5% for 2014. The Local Working Group identified and prioritized the resource concerns and points allocated to these concerns:
High 33 points for questions related to the resource concerns
Integrated pest management (vegetables, small berries and orchards)
Soil Health/Cropland Issues
Nutrient management (waste mangement and soil health)
Water quality (surface and groundwater)
Erosion (farmland and streambank)
Medium 10 points for questions associated with the resource concerns
Community Engagement (Ag education and recreation activities on farms that support local communities
Forestry (timber stand improvement)
Low 6 points with questions related to the resource concerns